Bus & Coach Registrations SMMT News

Q2 bus and coach registrations halve in five years, even after post-pandemic increase

16 August 2021 #Bus & Coach #Registrations #SMMT News
  • 1,086 vehicles registered in Q2 2021, up 231.1% on 2020, but 347 units or -24.2% short of 2019 outturn.
  • Market fell -3.6% on first half of 2020, with 1,668 vehicles registered year-to-date – less than half the pre-pandemic average.1
  • Sector calls for longer-term planning from government to address depleting ridership after the pandemic.



The UK new bus and coach market grew by 231.1% in the second quarter after a near standstill in 2020, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Although all vehicle types saw double- and even triple- digit increases on 2020, the market remains subdued. Despite the significant increase on last year, the sector is still struggling with long-term declining passenger numbers, with the number of new buses and coaches registered in Q2 more than halving in the past five years.2

Year to date, and despite the catastrophe that was 2020, registrations for 2021 so far are still down -3.6%, with 1,668 new buses and coaches registered in the first six months.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

Though any improvement on last year’s decimated figures is welcome, the growth in quarter two still belies a first half market which is down on a Covid-riven 2020. The bus and coach sector is still experiencing the effects of the pandemic with passenger numbers remaining low, undermining operator willingness to place new orders. The government’s ‘Bus Back Better’ strategy, published in March, is yet to deliver the promised investment which is essential to the future of this sector. Almost two years ago the government pledged to invest in 4,000 new zero emission buses. Manufacturers are ready, willing and able to build these here in the UK, but need to see that funding flow through to operators, orders placed and a return to the ridership numbers seen prior to the pandemic.

Notes to Editors

1. Q2 2015-2019 average – 3,806
2. 2. Q2 2016 – 2,456

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