Catch the Bus Week (3rd-9th July) is a national campaign organised by Greener Journeys to encourage commuters to swap the car for the bus.
The bus may not be the most exciting or romantic way to travel but it has clear advantages over the car.
In Manchester, we have night buses, free buses, even Magic Buses – and there are more reasons for travelling by bus than you first think
Less congestion and pollution
Buses are key to tackling congestion and reducing emissions. A fully-loaded double decker bus can take 75 cars off the road, meaning less traffic and less air pollution.
No more road rage. In an experiment conducted by Dr David Lewis from The University of Sussex, the heart rate and Electro-Dermal Response (EDR) of 30 bus and car commuters was measured and found that bus travel was much less stressful.
Spend some ‘me’ time
Read the paper, check your emails, watch a film, use your phone, put on your make-up. Yes, we know some people do these things when they’re driving – sometimes all at the same time – but it’s not a good idea. You can do all of these things and more on a bus without getting points on your licence or running the risk of killing yourself or someone else. You can even have forty winks. That’s something you definitely can’t do when you’re driving.
Greater Manchester has some of the slowest rush hour traffic in the country. According to transport expert David Begg, average traffic speeds have fallen below 10mph here. In 2014, in a race from Crumpsall to Albert Square between commuters using different modes of transport, council leader Sir Richard Leese took just 14 minutes to complete the journey on a bicycle. The bus took 38 minutes, whilst the car was the slowest, taking 43 minutes. Don’t forget, cars aren’t supposed to use bus lanes, so take the bus and wave to motorists stuck in traffic as you pass them by.
According to research by Greener Journeys, the daily short walk to and from the bus stop and destination can burn 22,630 calories a year, with daily bus users clocking up the annual equivalent of 11 marathons annually. You’ve earned a Mars bar for sure – about 87, in fact. Yes, we worked it out. (Other chocolate bars are available).
Walking or cycling can make you feel happier, according to study of 18,000 British workers by a team at University of East Anglia. They found that commuting that involved some physical activity helped to address feelings of worthlessness, sleepless nights and unhappiness. This one probably doesn’t apply if the bus stop is outside your home and place of work.
Last, but definitely not least, save on car parking, petrol, wear and tear and speeding tickets. A study by Stagecoach, Britain’s biggest bus and coach operator, found that bus users save an average of £1,200 a year – or £100 per month – by leaving their car in the driveway. That’s enough to pay almost all of the average household’s gas and electricity costs for a year. The same study found that commuters between Reddish and Manchester could save around £600 a year by leaving the car at home and taking the bus.
And finally, First Manchester will be offering new bus users a reduced priced ticket for £3 (usually £4.20), if they travel during Catch the Bus Week.
Visit firstmanchester.com for the discount code. Single journeys are available for as little as £1.50 over the bus network, as well as day tickets which apply across multiple services.