Survey reveals gulf in bus passenger satisfaction

28 March 2013

Passengers waiting for their bus in some parts of England may be asking themselves today why their buses aren’t as good as those in Nottingham, Oxfordshire or Devon.

This has been revealed by the latest Bus Passenger Survey (BPS), published today by independent watchdog Passenger Focus, which shows that passenger satisfaction with bus services varies widely among different bus operators and local authority areas.

Bus passengers in Nottingham were the most satisfied overall with 92 per cent, while passengers in Milton Keynes were the least satisfied with 73 per cent. Overall satisfaction averaged 84 per cent with a gulf of 19 percentage points between the highest and lowest area scores. Satisfaction with value for money ranged from 30 per cent to 70 per cent across the areas surveyed (averaging 54 per cent).

Anthony Smith, Passenger Focus chief executive, said:
“Each year some 2.3 billion bus journeys are made in England outside of London, meaning that passengers are not satisfied with around 375 million journeys. We hope this report will be a call to action for transport authorities and bus companies to better work together to improve things for passengers. In particular they should closely examine how the high level of passenger satisfaction in places like Nottingham, Oxfordshire and Devon has been achieved, and then look to replicate it.”

The BPS surveyed 22,000 bus passengers across 20 areas of England and looked at many factors of passengers’ journeys such as punctuality, frequency, helpfulness and attitude of the driver and value for money.

Key findings include:

  • Satisfaction with punctuality ranged from 57 per cent to 83 per cent (averaging 70 per cent.
  • The proportion of passengers who said they experienced behaviour that caused them to worry or make them feel uncomfortable during their journey ranged from four per cent to 17 per cent (averaging 10 per cent).
  • The factors driving passenger satisfaction are broad, but often relate to the bus driver, in particular ‘smoothness/freedom from jolting’. The most prevalent drivers of dissatisfaction are ‘on-bus journey time’, ‘safety of the driving’, ‘smoothness/ freedom from jolting’, and ‘length of time waited’.

  – Ends

 Notes to editors

  1. The Bus Passenger Survey can be downloaded from the Passenger Focus website:
  2. Passenger Focus is the official, independent consumer organisation representing the interests of rail users nationally and bus, coach and tram users across England outside London. We want to make a difference for rail, bus, coach and tram passengers.
    We’ll do this by:
    – providing authoritative advice for industry based on sound research
    – securing improvements to services – both big and small-scale improvements
    – helping passengers with advice and information
    – campaigning for change
    – acting on rail passenger complaints.For further information please contact:
  3. Dervish Mertcan
    Communications Officer
    Tel: 0300 123 0847 / 07918 626 045
    or e-mail:  
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