Bus use in England has dropped to lowest level in a decade

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Fewer people are using buses across England than at any time over the last decade, official figures reveal.

The statistics show that passengers made 4.5 billion bus trips, representing 119 million fewer journeys in 2015-16 than the year before. That is a drop of 2.6 per cent and the lowest since 2006.

London also recorded its first fall in bus use since 2012, seeing a drop of three per cent. The report coincides with a recent study that says road congestion is at an all-time high in the capital.

Transport for London (TfL) has recently introduced 'Hopper' fares, which allow passengers to take two bus or tram journeys for the price one. It says that it hopes this will reverse the decline.

However, campaigners claim that because many bus routes in the centre of the city have been reduced to walking pace, commuters would rather save money and walk.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said that a drop is bus mileage was 'largely due' to a reduced number of services being subsidised by councils.

Bus fares increased by 1.8 per cent over the last year, which DfT said was in line with other price rises, as well as the 1.6 per cent Retail Price Index of inflation.

Lianna Etkind, public transport campaigner at the CBT, said: "The news that bus use is falling in London is worrying, but as buses are now moving only marginally faster through the city than the average adult can walk, it's hardly surprising."

Gareth Powell, TfL's director of strategy for surface transport, said that while the 'small reduction' in bus journeys could be blamed on congestion, the completion of major road projects and the introduction of the 'Hopper' fares should see numbers rise again.