How late is late for bus passengers?

30 May 2014

The Senior Traffic Commissioner issues guidance to bus operators and authorities about how to run their services.  One form of guidance is about punctuality, the subject of a recent consultation.

To inform our view, we commissioned some research to find out what bus passengers think about punctuality.  We found them to be pragmatic, accepting that buses can have good reasons for being late.  But their satisfaction levels drops significantly after waiting for five minutes and even more so after 10.  So five sounds a sensible amount of time and one that is easily understood by people.  This was the time limit that the Commissioner put in an earlier draft.

The latest draft, however, puts this at seven minutes.  For one thing, this does not fit with passengers’ views in our research.   But for another, this was changed without any explanation.  This flies in the face of the evidence. We urge her to revert back to a five minute threshold which makes sense to most passengers.


Our response to the Senior Traffic Commissioner is here.

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