Metro Mayor Dan Norris and his dog Angel write for the Voice
HAVE you applied for your free month of birthday travel?
If yes – fantastic – and thank you! If not – please head to www.birthdaybus.co.uk. There’s nothing to lose and lots to gain.
So, what is Birthday Buses? In simple terms, I’m proud to offer all West of England residents the chance to ride the buses of our region for free throughout the whole of their birthday month. There’s no limit on the number of journeys you can make, or the time of day. So, what are you waiting for?
Importantly, Birthday Buses helps your pocket during this frightening cost-of-living crisis.
But it is also a serious plan to get our region moving and tackle the climate emergency. I’m very keen to see new people become bus passengers.
The latest figures show that the vast majority of people who used to travel on buses before Covid are doing so again.
But – and here’s the catch – they are making fewer journeys. If you think about it, it makes sense. People are working from home more; doing more online shopping and there are more virtual appointments for things like speaking to a GP.
So, passenger journey numbers are down and that means less fare income coming in. That’s not sustainable.
Birthday Buses is designed to encourage new people to hop on the bus and try it out – for a regular commute, to go to the shops, or to spend their weekends enjoying the amazing attractions of our region. Because I think if you try buses, you might like them.
Other places in the UK have tried free bus travel for a day, or a weekend, but this is different. A day isn’t enough to make or break a habit. But a month? Hopefully.
We have thought about this carefully. The month of your birthday seemed a great time to give you a free travel gift, but I’ve also worked closely with bus companies.
The phased nature of Birthday Buses means you won’t face overcrowded buses. We also need to make sure it’s definitely you applying, so please have a passport-style digital photo ready to apply at www.birthdaybus.co.uk.
A staggering 44% of our carbon emissions come from transport, and fewer than one in ten regional commutes are made on public transport.
Worse, there are a shocking 300 preventable premature deaths due to air pollution annually.
Getting people to use the car less and use the bus more is key to reaching our ambitious 2030 net-zero target here in the West, and it
will reduce traffic and delays that cost our local economy £300 million a year.
Finally, I want to put our region on the map. Birthday Buses is doing just that. We’re the envy of England, with Bus Users UK calling it “brilliant”.
So please sign up now at www.birthdaybus.co.uk and tell your friends, family and workmates.
And may I wish everyone many happy returns – and singles!