THE Government has been urged to take steps to help get one billion more bus journeys by 2030 to help fight climate change and improve air quality.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT), which is recognised as the voice of the bus and coach industry, published its Moving Forward Together strategy yesterday in an attempt to persuade the Government to create a National Bus Strategy.

The organisation is calling on the Government to make all new buses ultra-low or zero emission from 2025, reduce travel costs for job seekers and apprentices, and the introduction of price caps for daily and weekly ticketing in urban areas, sustainable transport for rural areas and journey time targets for transport authorities to speed up services.

The recommendations come after research from CPT say the North-East saw one of the biggest drops in passenger numbers over the last decade compared with anywhere else in the country.

CPT say by getting more people to choose the bus, cars can be taken off the roads, reducing congestion and carbon dioxide emissions, and they are confident the situation in the region can be "turned around".

Graham Vidler, CPT Chief Executive said: “Buses are already the cleanest form of road transport and have a crucial role to play in tackling environmental issues and helping to meet important targets on improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions.

"We can do even more to tackle climate change and improve air quality by getting people out of their cars and onto the bus. If everyone switched just one car journey a month to bus, there would be a billion fewer car journeys and a saving of two million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

“Better bus services are the key to shifting travel habits and growing the significant economic contribution the industry makes. We know that congestion remains the biggest barrier to increasing passenger numbers in towns and cities and that many rural communities feel current bus services don’t meet their needs.

"We’ll continue to invest in better buses with better facilities and simpler ticketing. We need government to incentivise local authorities to cut congestion and work with us to examine new ways of delivering transport services that work for more isolated communities”.

Buses Minister, Baroness Vere said: “Buses link people with work, school, friends and family and are vital to helping drive down emissions by providing a greener travel option.

“This CPT strategy emphasises the importance of the bus industry and I look forward to working with them to continue to bolster bus services across the country.”