Working in partnership with London TravelWatch

Do passengers trust the bus?

04 March 2016

How do you turn a bus passenger into a valued customer and get more people on board?

With changes to how bus services are provided outside London potentially on the horizon, the independent watchdog wanted to make sure passengers were kept at the heart of all changes. The report, out today, explores passengers’ trust in and relationship with the bus industry and how to get more people choosing bus.

It found to improve passengers’ trust in the bus industry, bus companies need to get the basics of a bus service right and build better relationships with their passengers.

David Sidebottom, passenger director at the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said:

“Passengers want a reliable, frequent bus service that is value for money. Bus companies need to do more than just sell tickets. Passengers are more likely to trust their bus company if they feel their custom is valued.”

Key findings include:

  • getting the basic right is key to bus passengers trusting bus companies. 41 per cent of bus passengers trust their company highly, but being treated more like a valued customer would greatly increase trust
  • value for money is passengers’ highest priority for improvement, followed by reliability and punctuality. Tackling anti-social behaviour was rated passengers’ fifth priority
  • 28 per cent of non-users would consider making more journeys by bus, highlighting the opportunity for further growth in the industry.
  • With two-thirds of all public transport journeys made using bus in Great Britain and the proposed government Buses Bill on the horizon this research highlights passengers’ top priorities for improvement and how more people might be tempted to choose bus.

Other findings:

  • unlocking the potential of the driver as the face of the company presents huge opportunity for increasing passenger trust
  • a clear sense of who is in charge and where complaints should be directed is needed to improve passengers feeling like a valued customer. Passengers have little understanding of who actually runs the buses
  • levels of high trust vary, with a difference amongst the five largest bus groups. Go-ahead received the best reaction with 47 per cent of its passengers trusting the company.

To read the report, Bus passengers have their say: Trust, what to improve and using buses more, click here.

You can watch a short video about this research here.

– Ends

Media enquiries: Kieran Watkins on 07918 626 045

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