Make using the bus as easy as ordering pizza

17 May 2019

What have buses and pizza got to do with each other?

Well, young people say they can’t understand why they can order a pizza and track its progress on their phones but can only find the cost of a bus fare when they get on board and ask the driver.

As the industry comes together on Love Your Bus day – to raise awareness of improvements being made to bus services, passenger experiences of bus travel and the positive impact buses have on communities – it’s timely to focus attention on bus customers of the future.

Young people are the biggest users of the bus, but don’t feel services are designed for them. In the latest Bus Passenger Survey, satisfaction among young bus users had risen to 80 per cent (from 77 per cent in 2017), but they remain the least satisfied group of passengers overall.

In Transport Focus research with young people conducted last year it became clear they are deterred from using buses because they’re not as user friendly as ordering pizzas or booking cinema tickets on their phones. But space on young people’s phones is limited, so bus apps have to earn their place by being seen as valuable.

There are also more things that can be done to help young passengers, and to encourage Government as well as the industry to make buses a more attractive choice for younger people.

A growing number of bus operators and local authorities are pursuing creative initiatives designed to encourage young people to catch the bus. Several participated in a series of Transport Focus workshops held earlier this year to discuss how buses could more appealing to young people. Many good ideas emerged and participants showed a real openness to deliver improvements for young people.

To share some of the best examples from across the country more widely, Transport Focus has published a new good practice guide today. This highlights the efforts of various bus operators and local authorities already working to make bus a better choice and to encourage young people to give bus a go.

In the West Midlands, the bus alliance found that 70 per cent of students wouldn’t be able to afford to go to college if they didn’t have a discounted student fare. To increase access to education, the operator has developed a web-to-mobile ticket for students. As a result, students can now order a term’s bus pass online with a code and it turns up on their phone in minutes. 40 per cent of customers now travel more frequently by bus. In the first two months, revenues rose by over 100 per cent. A practical solution producing creating great results for young passengers!

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