Bus and coach market accelerates through third quarter

The Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders has reported that Britain’s new bus, coach and minibus market grew by an impressive 130.6% in the third quarter of 2023 with 1,739 vehicles registered.

Operator demand more than doubled compared with the same quarter last year, while the July to September period saw the greatest demand of any quarter since the last three months of 2019.

But while these are encouraging figures, new vehicle demand this year still remains 43.1% below the 2016 peak.

The SMMT is also optimistic about the uptake of new green models, with OEMs making huge investments into the net zero transition. It believes this will bring opportunities around improved passenger and driver experience, better local air quality, more regular services and reduced noise pollution – although this will depend on increased vehicle uptake and the installation of depot charging infrastructure.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Britain’s bus and coach sector has done the double, with new vehicle demand twice that of last year, resulting in two successive quarters of growth. As the sector exceeds pre-pandemic levels, it is now in a strong position to deliver green growth and tangible benefits for local communities. Operators want to invest in zero emission fleets but action is needed, in particular to ensure that ZEBRA funding reaches all regions in a fair and timely manner – speeding up decarbonisation and improving services up and down the country.”