Bus and coach market still in slow lane

The UK’s new bus and coach market fell by 0.6% in the first quarter of 2023, with 968 vehicles joining Britain’s transport network.

This is according to the latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which found registrations remain 39.7% below the pre-pandemic five-year average.

The slight decline in the first three months of the year was driven by minibus registrations, which fell by 39.9% to just 389 units. However, demand for single and double decker buses and coaches reached the highest first quarter total since pre-pandemic 2019, with single deckers rising by 89.1% on last year to 399 units and double deckers by 55.2% to 180 units.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While building back Britain’s bus and coach sector remains a challenge, with supply disruptions still affecting minibus deliveries, the market is showing signs of recovery – particularly with the boost in single and double decker vehicle uptake. The sector has a vital role in decarbonising road transport, and potential minibus licence allowances have the potential to enable more operators to renew their fleets with the latest zero emission vehicles – driving long-term market growth and improving access to green mobility for all.”