Barriers to bus

28 June 2023

What passengers are telling us

How can we attract more people to travel by bus and improve the passenger experience?

As cuts to services and the cost of living bites, we have spoken to more than 2000 people to understand the current barriers to bus use and what more could be done to help people give bus a go.

In the research the majority of non-users said they don’t travel by bus because they prefer to travel by car (70 per cent). Other reasons included the bus being less convenient (27 per cent) and journeys taking too long (26 per cent).

The survey found the top factors that would increase bus use were better value fares, more frequent buses and more reliable services.

Key survey findings​:

  • Who uses buses has changed​ – there is a sizeable group who used to use the bus who have simply not returned at all since Covid and many users are using it less than before.
  • A preference for the car among non-users will continue to be hard to overcome. Perceptions that the bus is inconvenient and takes too long also prohibit people from giving it a go.
  • The capped fare scheme is providing value for money to users​. Half who have used the scheme have been encouraged to use the bus more because of it.
  • A lack of knowledge about services presents an opportunity for the industry – better promotion of services and schemes such as the £2 bus fare scheme could encourage lapsed and non-users.

Transport Focus will use this research to help bus operators and local authorities to help shape future policy and funding initiatives to improve local services and encourage more people to give bus a go.


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