COUNCILS across the North-East will today be urged to do more to encourage to people to use buses after figures show passenger numbers in the region dropped significantly over the last decade.

Research by The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) found that local authority areas across the North-East saw some of the biggest falls in bus passenger numbers since 2010.

The organisation, which is recognised by Government as the voice of the bus and coach industry, will today publish its Moving Forward Together strategy, which is expected to highlight ways to help safeguard the future of bus travel.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Graham Vidler, chief executive of CPT, said the organisation were looking at ways to get more people to occasionally swap their car for the bus, which would help to reduce traffic volumes and help the Government reach its emissions targets.

"We will be talking about maintaining and developing the industry's leadership on carbon reduction, we will be talking about a commitment where local authority infrastructure improvements provide benefits to bus operators, those benefits are reinvested directly into services, and we'll be talking about travel for apprentices and job seekers, and different ways of ticketing.

"We will be setting out in each of those areas the things the industry commits to doing and the things we need Government to do to help us get there.

"It is all part of a bold strategy that will help us get that decline in passenger numbers upwards."

Mr Vidler said initial conversations have taken place with authorities across the North-East, and he hopes this can lead to ways to increase passenger numbers.

"The North-East is one of a number of areas where we need to develop those long-lasting partnership relationships between operators and local authorities.

"We are having the right conversations and there is commitment on both sides, but we want to get to the situation we've seen in places like Brighton and Bristol where those conversations lead to official partnerships, and we will turn around the situation in the North-East."