June 16, 2024

UK bus market experiences a surge of 74.6% growth in Q1 2024

The bus market in the UK has experienced a 74.6% growth in the first quarter of 2024 according to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 

Within the initial three months of this year, 1,690 public service vehicles were added to the nation’s roads, signaling a recovery of the passenger road transport sector post-pandemic. 

The surge in demand is particularly notable in the minibus category, which witnessed a jump of 118.8% to 851 units.  

Moreover, single and double-decker buses also exhibited growth, with investments soaring by 33.6% and 70%, reaching 533 and 306 units, respectively.  

This growth correlates with the increasing number of passengers and is bolstered by initiatives such as the Bus Fare Cap Grant. 

An integral component of this expansion is the transition towards sustainability, with 322 zero-emission models hitting the roads, marking a 22.9% increase from the previous year.  

The bus sector continues to lead the UK’s endeavors to decarbonize road mobility due to its suitability for electrification, given their depot-based, circular routes.

Despite these favorable trends, minibuses encounter unique challenges in adopting zero-emission technology.

Current licensing restrictions restrict standard license holders from operating minibuses heavier than 4.25 tonnes, encompassing many zero-emission models.  

A regulatory adjustment is anticipated in 2025, yet there is a call to expedite this to 2024 to incentivize immediate investment and grant vulnerable societal groups access to cutting-edge green technology. 

SMMT CEO Mike Hawes remarked, “Britain’s road passenger transport sector is continuing its recovery amid rising ridership levels and growing operator confidence. The UK has been particularly successful at decarbonizing the new bus market, however, that green growth must extend to all sectors, in particular minibuses. Operators are ready to transition to greener mobility, but prompt action is imperative to ensure that the journey to net zero includes everyone.” 

Last week, SMMT disclosed that new automobile registrations in the UK increased by 1% in April 2024.


1. What has been the growth rate of the bus market in the UK in the first quarter of 2024?

2. How many public service vehicles were added to the nation’s roads in the first three months of 2024?

3. What are some of the challenges faced by minibuses in transitioning to zero-emission technology?


The bus market in the UK has shown significant growth in the first quarter of 2024, with an increase in demand across various categories. The shift towards sustainability and zero-emission technology is a positive trend, although challenges remain, particularly for minibuses. Continued efforts and regulatory changes are necessary to ensure a smooth transition to greener mobility in the transport sector.

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