Buses are crucial for many people to access education and employment, so are important for long-term economic prosperity - outside London, about two-thirds of public transport trips are made on local buses. They are also key for leisure trips or accessing health care, particularly for older people who may be losing the confidence to drive far or at night on increasingly busy roads. With many households in big cities not owning cars, buses are important to help people access and enjoy our countryside.
By using road space more efficiently, buses help reduce congestion, particularly in urban areas: the average number of people in a car is about 1.5, on a bus it is 9 while in a coach it is over 30. This means expanding bus services in areas seeing growth in population and employment is a very good idea, if these areas are not going to grind to a halt. Building in a high level of bus use to new developments can reduce the need for land for roads and parking.
Buses can reduce carbon emissions, so long as they are well used and secure a shift from motor traffic. Because of their higher occupancy and use on higher speed roads, coaches tend to be very good at reducing carbon emissions. Buses, particularly modern ones, can help reduce air pollution, particularly if they are hybrid or do not run on diesel at all. It is more economic to convert intensively used vehicles such as buses to alternative sources of power such as biogas or electricity.