New report reveals bus passengers’ views on flexible tickets

30 September 2020

Transport Focus’s latest report with our Transport User Community looks at bus passengers’ views on more flexible forms of ticketing on bus.

It revealed that while existing flexible ticket options are viewed positively and many are impressed with the speed in which they were delivered, the community wants to see even greater flexibility to address non-traditional work patterns.

The travel plans of members of our community are still in flux due to Covid-19. Several are looking for new jobs, while others are on furlough and unsure what kind of work environment and working patterns they will return to.

When asked how they feel about more flexible forms of ticketing, such as the flexible season ticket from Go Northeast and the carnet-style ticket from First Group, the community viewed them very positively. One member said:

“I think it’s great to see bus companies responding so quickly – it seems like they’ve really recognised the need (for more flexible ticketing) that people are feeling and it’s great that they can launch a new type of ticket this fast”
Male, North West

The community appreciated that their changing needs were being considered and were impressed that some bus companies were able to provide flexible options quite quickly. Many felt that bus companies should have offered tickets like this for a long time, even prior to Covid-19.

However, the report also highlights that the community wants to see further flexibility to address the underlying assumption that a five-day working week is the norm. Some also found the marketing of a ‘Flexi 5’-style ticket confusing and still linked it to a five-day working week, leading them to deem it unsuitable for them.

The community reported high expectations for the discount that flexible tickets should offer. They indicated that the ideal discount ranged between 15 per cent and 30 per cent compared to buying daily tickets, to incentivise them to travel by bus.

A timeframe of one month to use the tickets was felt to be reasonable. The carnet system emerged as slightly more flexible and less complex, given the different options of a ten-ticket or a five-ticket bundle.

Transport User Community – evaluating flexible bus fares

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