FEWER and fewer of us are catching the bus to make our daily journeys.

More bus trips are being made in Swindon, after a dip, government figures show, but as the town grows, the proportion of bus users is dropping.

That’s in line with the rest of the country.

Figures in a new government report show11.9 million bus journeys were made in Swindon in last year - an increase on previous years and it approaches the most recent high figure of 12 million in 2012-13.

But compared to the number of people in Swindon, the decline is clear. In 2010-11 there were 60.4 bus journeys for every inhabitant of the town. Last year that had dropped sharply to 53.9 journeys.

In Wiltshire the number of journeys overall has also slightly recovered. The 10 m journeys made last year is an increase on the two previous years but a drop of a million from a high point in 2012-13.

A Swindon Borough Council spokesman said it was trying to make it easier for bus users: “We encourage people to use transport methods other than cars, as this will result in benefits for the environment and for public health.

“We work with developers to encourage them to offer a month’s free bus travel to residents of new housing developments. In fact, residents in Tadpole Garden Village and Badbury Park are currently benefiting from such a scheme.

“Every July, we team up with the bus operators and take part in national Catch the Bus Week, a great scheme that promotes the benefits of using the buses.

"In previous years, we have held a ‘nominate your favourite bus driver’ competition and this year we will be giving away a number of free dayrider vouchers.

“We also work with the bus companies to offer employer and student roadshows to promote different forms of transport.

“And with the completion of the Regent Circus bus corridor in November, we are continuing to make Swindon’s roads more bus-friendly.”

Alex Chutter, general manager of Swindon’s Bus Company said: “I am pleased to note the report reveals bus use in Swindon is actually at its highest since 2013.

"Since acquiring Thamesdown Transport in January 2017, we at Go-Ahead Group have invested heavily in the vehicles and services we offer here - now with Swindon’s Bus Company.

“We believe buses are a perfect and affordable solution to reducing congestion and emissions, and we are doing all we can to make sustainable transport a far more attractive option for those who may otherwise journey across the town by car.

“Improving the services we offer by investing in newer buses - with the very latest low emissions engines, more comfortable seating, reliable timetables, and on-board technology like USB chargers for smart devices - certainly appears to be working."

“We won’t be resting on our laurels though. Our team here in Swindon will continue to seek new ways of making bus travel even more popular over the coming months and years.”