The market for new buses in the UK grew by 45.2% in the first quarter of 2022, and the number of registrations increased to 974, according to data released today by the Society of Engine Manufacturers and Dealers (SMMT).
The market for new buses in the UK grew by 45.2% in the first quarter of 2022, and the number of registrations increased to 974, according to data released today by the Society of Engine Manufacturers and Dealers (SMMT). Year-on-year growth compares to the weakest start to the year in 2021, when orders fell due to a sharp decline in passenger numbers due to pandemic-related restrictions.1
Due to the easing of restrictions during the first three months of the year and the increase in the number of bus trips, the number of registrations increased for all types of vehicles, with the largest increase in single-decker buses, which increased by 131.9% over the same period last year. 211 units.2 Minibus registrations, which continue to dominate the market, grew by 36.8%, with 647 joining UK roads, accounting for two-thirds of all new registrations (66.4%). Demand for double-decker buses has also grown – by about 8.4% to 116 units.
Despite significant year-on-year growth, the sector is still struggling with low demand given the long-term decline in passenger numbers: 44.4% fewer buses were registered in the first quarter than on average five years before the pandemic.3
As fleet renewal is critical for the UK to achieve the ambitious goals of the Net Zero government, operators need the confidence and support to switch to the latest and most environmentally friendly buses. Bus manufacturers are already deploying zero-emission buses in the UK, and this could be accelerated by providing infrastructure for charging and refueling.
Consultations to stop the sale of new zero-emission buses are currently ongoing and set an ambitious goal for the sector, which can only be achieved with immediate investment in charging and refueling infrastructure and the allocation of funding through a policy in Bus Back Best Strategy. This will support operators to invest in new vehicles, protecting jobs and livelihoods, supporting traffic in the UK and reducing emissions. Switching to zero-emission buses remains a challenge and will require a holistic approach that takes into account the needs of passengers, public sector requirements in addition to incentives and infrastructure.
Mike Howes, CEO of SMMT, said:
A return to the growth of the bus sector, which is crucial for achieving the goals of the UK Net Zero and aligning the agenda, is very welcome. However, recovery is not far. As declining passenger numbers continue to hamper operators ’confidence in upgrading their fleet, incentives are very important. Funding has gradually begun to stand out, but the government needs to act faster, using money from the Bus Back Better Fund to support investment in vehicles and using other funding flows to encourage infrastructural expansion needed to move quickly to net zero. transportation that everyone requires.
1. The first quarter of 2021 was the weakest in the first quarter since recording began in 1996 with a total of 582 registrations
3. Average for the 1st quarter of 2015-2019: 1751 units.