The UK new bus and coach market fell by -19.8% in the third quarter, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a deeply disappointing decline following a 2020 performance devastated by Covid.
Single-deck buses were the only vehicle type that saw growth, increasing by 5.2%, whilst double-deck buses declined significantly, by -63.6%, to just 76 new registrations. The number of new buses and coaches registered in Q3 remains -37.0% down on the pre-pandemic 2019, with long-term low passenger numbers continuing to impact demand for vehicles.2
Year to date, registrations remain -10.2% down against a pandemic ravaged 2020, with just 2,584 new buses and coaches registered so far this year, down 293 units.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,
The decline in bus and coach figures during the third quarter of the year is incredibly disappointing, especially when viewed against the same period in 2020, when the country was still struggling to recover from the effects of pandemic induced lockdowns. Whilst lockdowns have ended, and workers have begun returning to the office as the economy continues to be fully open, the sector is still struggling, with dwindling passenger numbers leading to operators hesitant to place new orders. This sector also continues to wait for the promised investment from the government for new zero emission buses to flow through, with such funding necessary to stimulate confidence and deliver environmental goals.
SMMT now has expanded its categorisation of minibuses to incorporate LCVs <6.5tonnes with carrying capacity of up to 17 pax
1. Year to date 2019– 4021
2. Q3 2019 – 1353