Bus and Coach Statistics 2011-2012

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Bus and Coach Statistics 2011-2012

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland

This report is available to download in pdf format.

Transport Scotland’s Statisticians today published Bus and Coach Statistics, 2011-12 in the form of a webtables update.

The purpose of the publication is to bring together a range of bus and coach data to provide a more comprehensive and complete understanding of travel trends and behaviours across these modes. Comparisons are made with GB where possible.

Data presented includes Department for Transport (DfT) Scottish bus operator data, Transport Scotland concessionary bus fare data and further analysis of bus-related information collected by the Scottish Household Survey (SHS). All data is secondary release of these statistics i.e. data from these sources has been released through previous publications.

Passenger journeys and Vehicle Kilometres

The number of bus journeys made in Scotland rose in the last year, but the total distance covered by buses dropped for the fourth year running.

  • Passenger bus journeys on local services in Scotland increased by 2 per cent from the previous year. However, the number remains around 10 per cent lower than a recent peak in 2007/08 [Table 1]
  • This contrasts with figures for GB as a whole, which show a modest increase of around 1 per cent since 2007/08 [Table 1]
  • The total number of vehicle kilometres made by Scottish local bus services fell for the fourth year running following the peak in 2007/08, a pattern broadly similar to GB as a whole [Table 4]

Personal bus use

Around half of all journeys made in Scotland (by all modes of transport) are for the purposes of commuting and shopping. Journeys made by bus show a similar pattern.

  • The most common purposes for a bus journey were commuting (27%) and shopping (21%). Between them, these two purposes accounted for almost half of all bus journeys. This is a similar pattern to journeys made by all modes of transport [Table 19] [Figures for all modes come from the SHS Travel Diary publication ]
  • Travel to education accounted for 10.5 per cent of journeys made by bus in 2011, this is a significantly greater proportion than for journeys made by all modes. Only 3.6 per cent of journeys made by all modes combined were for the purposes of education [Table 19] [Figures for all modes come from the SHS Travel Diary publication ]
  • The most popular reasons given for commuters not using public transport to get to work were ‘no direct route’ (39%) and ‘takes too long’ (37%) [Table 21]
  • When asked why they didn’t use the bus more regularly the top reasons for infrequent bus users were ‘takes too long’ (20%) and that they had ‘no need’ (16%) [Table 22]

Over the past 5 years, operating costs for bus travel have increased at a faster rate in Scotland than in GB as a whole (outwith London). However, ticket prices and passenger revenue have risen more slowly in Scotland than in GB as a whole (outwith London).

Operating costs per vehicle kilometre in Scotland are similar to those in GB as a whole. However, operating costs per passenger journey are higher in Scotland. This difference is likely to be down to longer passenger journeys and lower bus occupancy in Scotland compared to GB (outwith London).

  • Operating costs per passenger journey in Scotland exceeded those for GB (outwith London) for the third consecutive year and displayed a 21 per cent increase over the past 5 years [Table 11]
  • Operating costs per vehicle kilometre remain marginally lower in Scotland than in GB (outwith London). However, over the past 5 years operating costs have increased by 27 per cent in Scotland compared with only 9 per cent in GB (outwith London). The gap is now the lowest that it has been in the past 8 years [Table 10]
  • Over the past 5 years, bus fares (excluding inflation) have risen by around 6 per cent in Scotland , this compares with a rise of around 10 per cent for GB as a whole [Table 6]
  • Local bus operators in Scotland experienced a 1 per cent increase in passenger revenue in the last year. This compares with a 2 per cent increase for operators across GB [Table 8]

Concessionary travel

  • As in the past few years, around one-third of bus journeys were undertaken by those who hold a concessionary travel pass. [Tables 3 & 19]
  • There were a total of 1.3 million concessionary passes enabling free bus travel issued as at January 2013. Just over one million of these were issued on the basis of the holder being aged 60 or over. [Table 24]
  • Government support for concessionary bus fares in Scotland amounted to £181 million in 2011-12. This represents an increase of around 4 per cent above inflation since 2006/07, which was the first year of the national scheme providing free travel to adults aged over 60 and some disabled users [Table 9]

Bus fleet characteristics

  • Despite more than doubling between 2005-06 and 2011-12, the percentage of buses in Scotland fitted with CCTV is lower than the equivalent figure for GB as a whole [Table 12]
  • Eighty-nine per cent of buses in Scotland in 2011-12 had live Smart-card readers compared to 60 per cent across GB (outwith London) [Table 12]
  • Eighty-four per cent of buses in Scotland in 2011-12 had either an accessibility certificate low floor access, an increase of 38 per cent over the past 5 years [Table 13]

Other bus and coach statistics
This publication does not contain the full scope of bus and coach data collected by Transport Scotland. It aims to provide more in-depth analysis of bus and coach data released via earlier publications as well as drawing comparison with GB. Links to other data sources are contained within the associated Excel file. Alternatively, Bus and Coach statistics can be found in the following publications:

Scottish Transport Statistics – a compendia publication covering all aspects of travel and transport statistics. Chapter 2 of the 2012 edition is dedicated to Bus and Coach Travel. The publication is updated annually, usually in December.


 Transport and Travel in Scotland –a ‘mini’ compendia publication highlighting initial main transport trends and presenting the first release of Scottish Household Survey transport data. The publication is updated annually, around late Summer/early Autumn.


Department for Transport – for further information on bus and coach data collected on at GB level or behalf of Scotland by the DfT visit the Buses section of their website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-transport/series/bus-statistics