This week saw the publication of commercial vehicle manufacturing numbers, which show some positivity since the depths of the crisis – mainly, and not surprisingly, led by the van sector. Although we can’t yet call this a recovery, given June 2019’s extremely low base, it is undoubtedly good news, and let’s not forget that the sector is still going through a long term, and positive, structural shift reflecting changes in the broader economy.
At the other end of the scale is the bus sector, which is going through a torrid time. This week’s announcement from ADL paints the picture: for some this is an existential crisis.
If we look at recently released traffic levels for two weeks before lockdown, vans were at 111% of the same time last year, falling to a low of 29% but, as of Monday, were right back to pre-pandemic levels. Conversely, bus traffic is now at less than a third of its level last year outside London, and still only 45% in the capital. Perhaps the most startling movement has been cycling, at one point hitting 349% and a still double what it was. It will be interesting to see these numbers again in 12 months’ time. Just how much change will there be?