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Should bus operators provide more space for shopping bags?

Figures from the recent Bus Passenger Survey confirm that out of 41,000 people surveyed in England (outside London), 24 per cent travel with shopping bags in comparison to 1 per cent  who travel with a wheelchair, and 2 per cent who travel with a pushchair, buggy or pram.

In Scotland, out of 8,000 people questioned as part of the same Bus Passenger Survey a slightly lower proportion of people (22 per cent) were shown to travel with shopping bags in comparison to 1 per cent who travel with a wheelchair, and just one 1 per cent who travel with a pushchair, buggy or pram.

The Transport Focus stakeholder team who visit bus companies and transport authorities, frequently discuss the issue of space on the bus. The clash between whether the wheelchair or pram users gets priority over space on a bus is an ongoing debate. But, as the data about shopping bags implies, the need for adequate space also isn’t just between wheelchair and pram users.

These figures tell us how vital the bus is to the local economies and high streets of our towns and cities. The Bus Passenger Survey provides a richer picture of who uses bus services and their needs when doing so. It is clear that bus manufacturers and operators need to constantly look to create suitable space on buses to meet the needs of all passengers.

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