“Make it easier and better value” – young people’s plea to bus industry

05 February 2018

Young people are the biggest users of the bus – but don’t feel services are designed for them

Today the independent watchdog Transport Focus publishes the results of an in-depth look at the experiences and needs of young bus passengers. This includes clear recommendations for making services more attractive to encourage more young people to keep using the bus.

Director David Sidebottom said:

“We know that young people – like most other public transport users – are concerned with the value for money, punctuality and reliability of their service. Our report is a call to action for governments, local authorities and bus operators to act now to make sure they don’t lose their customers of the future.”

Several bus operators and authorities have brought in initiatives including cheaper fares, Wi-Fi, charging points for phones and mobile ticketing, to encourage younger passengers to take more trips. However the report finds that such schemes are patchy across Great Britain.

Young people said that:

  • they don’t feel services are designed with them in mind, or that enough is being done to encourage them and make them feel valued
  • not knowing how the system works or what to do is a barrier and a source of anxiety about ‘getting it right’
  • improving the journey experience is important
  • there is a need to design systems better, learning from other industries in the way they appeal to young people
  • fares for young people are confusing and inconsistent. Over half didn’t know what special fares and discounts are available for young people or even if they are available at all.

The watchdog brought together bus operators and local authorities, as well as experts from outside the transport sector, to start addressing how to make using the bus more appealing to young people. It will follow up with workshops to help operators and authorities focus on how to improve young people’s experience of bus services.

Passenger director David Sidebottom and senior stakeholder manager Linda McCord with local young people

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