In the past three years the number of people traveling by bus and coach in Europe has almost trebled, particularly in Germany and France. It seems this increase in passenger traffic is principally down to the deregulation of the passenger transport market in both countries.
Early research and reporting by the International Road Transport Union (IRU) would suggest that these additional passengers have not come from any other mode of transport in substantial numbers. It seems most of the new travellers is new business. There has been some loss to the railways and the airlines, but nothing substantial. Most of the new passengers are people coming from car-pooling arrangements and a significant number are made up of what one of the researchers described as “Grandparents visiting their grandchildren and other family trips.”
This development is good news for manufacturers and operators and does account for some increase in new equipment. One section of the market that is seeing a revival is the sale of double decker coaches. There is a significant increase in new registrations here in Ireland too, as a consequence.
Much to the annoyance of the transport unions here, the NTA (National Transport Authority) is fairly flexible when it comes to issuing new licences, one wonders then are we on the cusp of a wave? Or are we about to see an increase in the numbers traveling by bus or coach? The outcome of the Bus Eireann strike and its consequences could have a bearing on this scenario, which is likely to be sweet music to the ears of the private operator.