NEW figures from First West of England have revealed that over six million more journeys were made by passengers in 2023 compared to last year.

This includes areas such as Weston, Wells, Bristol, Bath, as well as surrounding towns and villages in Somerset and North Somerset.

In 2022, just over 46 million passengers travelled on the service, a figure which has jumped to nearly 53 million in 2023.

First West of England say that the figures also show an improvement in bus punctuality and a reduction in the number of journeys cancelled.

The number of journeys cancelled or cut short have fallen by 60 per cent when compared to 2022.

In 2023, almost 98 per cent of planned bus trips took place in full. Trips which were cancelled or cut short could have been because of driver sickness, vehicle issues or traffic.

On top of this, the company has said that, this year, it has added nearly 80,000 miles to its network by adding new services, putting extra buses on existing services and extending routes.

78 per cent of buses ran on time last year, which has increased to 83 per cent this year. This is above the average figure for England at 80 per cent for non-frequent services.

Doug Claringbold, managing director for First West of England, said: “The past three years have been a tough time for the bus industry.

"Not only did we – like the rest of the world – have to contend with Covid, but we’ve also faced the challenge of encouraging people back onto buses in a world where people’s lives and travelling habits have dramatically changed.

“We have also faced driver shortages, continuing traffic congestion, and ongoing, significant increases in costs.

"But despite all of this, our customer numbers are growing, and I’m pleased that the hard work we’ve put into reviewing our network and amending timetables has not only enabled us to increase the number of buses but also reduce the number of journeys we’ve had to cancel or reduce as well as improving our punctuality.

“With well over a million passengers travelling on our services every week, we recognise we don’t always get it right, but I hope the figures we’ve released today show that we are moving in the right direction."