Bus Passenger Survey proves valuable in improving passenger experience

26 March 2014

Bus companies are providing a better experience for their passengers, according to research published by Passenger Focus. This is borne out by the overall satisfaction rating of passengers’ bus journeys being 88 per cent in the areas covered1.

There has been a four per cent increase in overall satisfaction in one year, according to the most recent – the fourth – Bus Passenger Survey (BPS). Last year’s overall satisfaction rating was 84 per cent in the areas covered.

David Sidebottom, Passenger Focus acting chief executive, said:

“These results are good news for bus passengers in the areas covered by the survey. They are good news for bus operators and transport authorities too. This improvement in bus passengers’ overall satisfaction demonstrates what can be done when bus operators and transport authorities use the BPS results to identify improvements for their passengers. And the evidence from some areas shows they are doing just that. With the right approach it can make a significant difference.

“From our ongoing work with the industry it is apparent that improvements can come about from better working arrangements between authorities and operators. These can provide a focus on what passengers really want from their bus service.

“However, there is still room for improvement. The survey provides pointers for future action and our conversations with operators and authorities have helped identify what could be done to further improve passenger satisfaction.”

Particularly notable improvements in these latest results are:

  • Reading Buses scored best amongst the operators covered by the survey in England, outside of London
  • West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive has made significant improvements, particularly on value for money. This coincided with the continued focus of the partnership between operators and the authority on improving services for passengers
  • First in Manchester reduced many of its fares alongside other features of their service to passengers. Their value for money score increased from 40 per cent last year to 71 per cent in this latest round of work.  
  • Stagecoach had the highest combined scores and showed very good consistency across its area-operations


Lothian Buses in Edinburgh scored outstandingly for overall satisfaction and value for money ratings while First Glasgow also scored very well.

Autumn 2013 Bus Passenger Survey summary from Passenger Focus on Vimeo.




The Bus Passenger Survey1

The survey was conducted in the autumn of 2013 with responses from 34,000 passengers covering 34 area-operators. Within England, it was conducted in the following areas: six former metropolitan authorities; two transport authority areas groups and 11 local transport authority areas. For the first time we also covered bus operations in Scotland. This survey also saw 22 authorities and 15 different area-operators buying extra survey responses to enhance its usefulness.


The results

Please click the link below to download the BPS report:


Bus Passenger Survey video summary

Please click the link below to see a short video about the BPS:


Quotes from bus companies and authorities about the survey

“The Bus Passenger Survey, produced by Passenger Focus, has become the industry’s key customer barometer and we’re delighted that passenger satisfaction across the industry is rising. I’m especially thrilled to see such a strong overall First UK Bus performance. Of course we’ve still got much to do and as we continue our transformation programme across all our markets, I’m very confident that Passenger Focus will have an even better customer satisfaction story to share next year.”
Giles Fearnley, managing director, First UK Bus

“This is the second year that we have taken part in this survey and again at our own expense. It is money very well spent. The survey gives us an invaluable insight into what our customers are thinking about us and it provides an invaluable comparison with other operators. Furthermore, the credibility brought to the process by the fact that the work is done by Passenger Focus, with its national status and reputation, is invaluable to us. We can make good use of it to reassure our stakeholders at every level that we have our eye on what matters to our customers.”
James Freeman, Chief Executive Officer, Reading Transport Limited

“Essex County Council and Thurrock Council value the surveys as they provide the objective view of passengers on a journey they have undertaken. The results provide the opportunity to discuss with operators an action plan of improvements that can be developed for the benefit of the users of bus services.”
John Pope, head of Passenger Transport, Essex County Council

“Understanding how people are feeling about using public transport is essential to help us influence providers and shape services to better match their needs. The survey results are essential for our improvement plans to continue to raise the bar of bus travel in Norfolk.”
Tracy Jessop, assistant director of Environment, Transport and Development, Norfolk County Council

“Passenger Focus’s research has been very helpful in setting priorities for our quality bus partnership. For the first time ever it has allowed us to compare services in York against other towns and cities in the UK, and has been the cause of much constructive debate and discussion. We look forward to subsequent rounds of the research so we can track progress over time.”
Julian Ridge, programme manager, York Better Bus Area

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