Give Bus a Go: passengers have their say on West Midlands buses

13 November 2019

“More enjoyable than I remember from 10 years ago.”

People across the West Midlands were challenged to Give Bus a Go and find out if buses are an option to help them get around.

The experiences they shared with the independent watchdog Transport Focus include:

“Pleasant experience as the buses and planning apps have been greatly modernised making the experience of using the buses more enjoyable than I remember from 10 years ago.”

“Generally, there is an issue if you’ve gotta get off one bus onto another bus, understanding that connection and the advertising of that connection is sometimes not clear and a barrier to actually using the bus.”

“It’s actually stretched my imagination for things I would use the bus for.”

“The experience on the bus was very positive. There was free Wi-Fi which allowed me to respond to a few emails and get stuff done!”

The ‘Busketeers’, a group of people who live and work in the West Midlands but rarely or never use buses, took on the challenge as part of a campaign to help get more people on the bus by breaking down barriers to its use.

Linda McCord of Transport Focus, and West Midlands Bus Alliance Chair, said:

“We knew that those who used the bus, liked the bus. Our Busketeers told us that offering a good network of routes served by consistently punctual and reliable bus services that offer good value for money is critical to both keep people using buses and to persuade other people to Give Bus a Go.

“Bus operators and local authorities must seize the opportunity to cater for their customers of the future and allow passengers to share their experiences. Breaking down the barriers to bus use and understanding the perceptions of non-users is vital in building a successful bus network.

“The Busketeers’ experiences highlight that buses can be a useful option for getting around sometimes, so why not Give Bus a Go?”

Key findings:

  • three quarters of the busketeers’ experiences of travelling by bus were positive
  • most indicated that they would continue using bus sometimes and would recommend travelling by bus to family and friends
  • the key barriers to use were infrequency, journey length and lack of buses going direct to destination.

Find out more in the Give Bus a Go report.

Almost nine out of ten bus users told the Transport Focus Bus Passenger Survey 2018 they were satisfied with their most recent journey.

Among passengers in the West Midlands Transport Focus research has found that their top three priorities for improvement are more frequent services, better punctuality and buses going to more places they want them to.

Case study

Bernadette is 55 and lives in Acocks Green. She is self-employed and has a visual impairment. She wanted to test if using the bus could give her some flexibility getting around the West Midlands.

How did it turn out for her?
She said using the bus at off-peak times ‘has been an absolute dream’. It offered a viable alternative for most of the things that she would normally do by either walking or getting a lift as she does not see well enough to drive anymore.

She used buses for things that she expected would not work like her weekly food shopping and she was surprised how easy it was to take an enormous suitcase on one journey.

Peak-time travel however was more of a problem as her journeys during those busy hours were into and out of Birmingham. While there is a regular service it was just too slow;

she described it as a bit like watching paint dry.

Give Bus a Go campaign
Transport Focus will continue to encourage more of people to Give Bus a Go and

work in partnership with Transport for the West Midlands, bus operators and local authorities to understand current challenges and trial new initiatives to improve services and the passenger experience.


Visit the Give Bus a Go website to find out more about the campaign.

For further information or to arrange an interview contact

Kieran Watkins, Senior communications officer

Tel: 0300 123 0836 or e-mail:

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