- There were an estimated 6.3 million bus passenger journeys in Somerset in 2018/19, a decrease of 36% since 2009/10.
- Department for Transport (DfT) survey data suggest that 2015/16 experienced the highest number of passengers since 2009/10.
- At 11.3 per head, Somerset has the fifth lowest bus passenger journeys per population in England and the lowest in the South West.
- 33% of Somerset bus journeys (2.7 million) in 2018/19 were made by elderly and disabled concessionary passengers.
- The Slinky 'demand responsive transport' service had over 43,000 passenger journeys in 2018/19.
Trends in bus passenger journeys
The Department for Transport (DfT) carries out an annual Public Vehicle Survey to estimate bus usage by local authority across England. In addition it collates figures on concessionary bus pass holders, supplied by the Travel Concession Authorities. In Somerset, that is Somerset County Council.
The chart below shows that in Somerset, overall bus passenger journeys fell between 2009/10 and 2012/13, before a period of growth from 2013/14 to 2015/6. Since 2016/17, total journeys have plummeted by 34.5%.
Source: DfT Public Vehicle Survey
Expressed as a rate per head of population, Somerset's bus usage was the fifth lowest in England in 2018/19.
When compared to other large rural counties, journeys per head in Somerset are broadly similar. However, the chart below shows that Somerset, along with Shropshire and Herefordshire have seen a steep decline in journeys per head over the past decade, whereas other similar counties have managed to maintain a more consistent number.
Concessionary pass and County Ticket holders
At July 2020, the total number of live concessionary passes issued to senior citizens in Somerset is 99,031, of which just over 95,000 (96%) were age-related and around 4,000 (4%) disability-related. In 2015/16, Somerset concessionary pass holders contributed around 4.1 million passenger journeys in the county.
In addition, 3,221 students have a County Ticket for travel by bus to Further Education Colleges.
Demand Responsive Transport
Somerset has many local community transport schemes, particularly in rural parts of the county. In the year 2018-19, there were 43,509 single passenger journeys were undertaken on the 'Slinky' bus service alone.
- County-level DfT data for 2019/20 will be published in October 2020.
- Data for all authorities are available on the DfT website
- More information on rural transport in Somerset is available on our Rural Transport webpage.