Getting bus basics right key to value for money

22 October 2013

Getting a seat on punctual, frequent and reliable buses are factors which most influence passengers’ views on value for money.

The attitude of the bus driver and the difficulties they face when trying to find out information about timetables, routes and fares, also heavily affected passengers’ views.

These findings are part of research into bus passengers’ views on value for money carried out by the passenger watchdog. Its 2013 Bus Passenger Survey revealed that fare-payers’ satisfaction with value for money ranged from 30 to 70 per cent – averaging 54 per cent.

This latest research also found that young bus passengers have distinct needs that are not being met in many places. They said that they are more reliant on buses than many other passengers. They have to balance education, work and their social lives, so they need more flexibility.

Young passengers resent having to pay adult fares when they are often still in education, training or low-paid work – they think adult fares should be charged from 18 onwards.

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said:
“Bus fares and passenger satisfaction varies widely across the country. In many places, bus fares increase by more than inflation each year. Passengers rightly expect buses to deliver them to their destination in relative comfort at the promised time.”

For information about timetables, routes and fares, passengers said they mostly rely on word of mouth and the bus driver. Many don’t know about the range of tickets available, so they want more information placed online, at bus stops and on mobile apps.

The attitude of the bus driver makes a big difference – as far as passengers are concerned they’re the face of the bus company. They are the first, and often only, point of contact for information on fares, routes and service disruption and delays. There is an opportunity to significantly improve the passenger experience if bus drivers are given better customer service training.

Passenger Focus has published these and other findings in its report, Bus passenger views on value for money. Please click the link below to download the report:

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