Summer boost carries number of bus passengers to record high
BUS passenger figures are at an all-time high so far this year, with the number travelling on scheduled public services during the first six months of 2019 increasing for the sixth year in a row.
Between January and July of this year 1,117,159 passenger journeys were recorded, compared to 1,042,864 during the same period in 2018, an increase of 74,295 passenger journeys or 7.1% and, since 2013, passenger journeys have also increased by over a quarter of a million, equivalent to a rise of 42%.
Environment & Infrastructure committee vice-president Mark Dorey said they had been able to build on the successes achieved over the previous five years.
‘The number of journeys undertaken during the first seven months of 2019 has exceeded all expectations,’ he said.
‘The 2019 timetable, introduced in April, provides a similar level of services to 2018 but has seen a number of changes, including the provision of later services on certain routes enabling islanders and tourists alike to make the most of the lighter summer evenings.
‘Growth in passenger numbers has been experienced across the broad range of journey types available with the biggest increases seen in pay as you go, £5 day fares, and unlimited monthly pass journeys.
‘Overall, the percentage of fare-paying passengers remains at 80%, thus ensuring that fare income has also increased over this period.’
Bus passengers said they used the service because it was quick, convenient and always on time.
‘It’s a very good service,’ said Bridget Ronan, 53.
‘I use them about three to four times a week and have started using them more recently to come to Town as they’re handy and convenient for older people.’
Jean-Francois Mitchell-Brown, 16, said he was also currently using the buses a lot more to visit family.
‘I live in France, but I have family here, so I use the bus every day with a pay-as-you go Puffin Pass when I’m here,’ he said.
‘They’re a lot quicker and on time, more than in France.’
July has also seen the highest number of passengers recorded in a single month since records in the current format began, with a total of 217,758 passenger journeys undertaken on scheduled public bus services and up 8.9% on July 2018.
This surpasses the previous monthly record set in August 2018 at 209,130.
Visitor numbers in the summer months significantly increase the number of journeys undertaken across the network, demonstrating that as well as meeting the needs of local residents, the bus service also provides an essential service for tourists to travel easily around the island and see the sights of interest to them.
Tourist Shirley Brown, 72, visiting from Jersey, said they had decided to get the bus rather than a tour bus round the island to see the island.
‘The tour bus costs £21,’ she said.
‘Whereas the bus here is only £2. I’d much rather pay that.’