Transport User Voice April 2024 – Bus punctuality needs improvement

28 March 2024

Landmark survey reveals gulf in satisfaction

Bus passengers across England have had their say – with 80 per cent saying they were satisfied with their latest journey.

Our new landmark survey Your Bus Journey was published in March, showing passenger satisfaction varies widely across England.

The gap is clear, with the most satisfied passengers being in East Riding of Yorkshire and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole – where 90 per cent were satisfied overall with their journey. This contrasts with 73 per cent of passengers in West Yorkshire who were the least satisfied.

Building on over a decade of the previous Bus Passenger Survey (2009 to 2019) and working across the industry, the survey gathered passenger feedback on more than 35,000 journeys in England in in its first year.

Researchers now talk to passengers at bus stops and on-board buses, encouraging them to take part in the survey.

Results showed significant variation for waiting times and bus punctuality scores, with congestion in peak travel periods a challenge for operators even in the better scoring areas.

Nearly half of passengers surveyed in Transport Focus’s survey (48 per cent) say that the bus was the only real means of transport available to make that journey, which means it’s vital that services are on time, reliable and offer good value for money.

Against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis, 67 per cent of fare paying passengers say they are satisfied with value for money, and the introduction of the £2 single fare cap and other ticket deals appear to have helped this figure. Those passengers in rural areas who are taking longer distance journeys often benefiting the most form the single fare cap. Where value for money ratings are lower, this may be attributed to less reliable journeys or tickets and passes used by frequent travellers that have increased in price in the past year.

Next steps

It is encouraging to see that eight in 10 passengers are satisfied with their journey but the wide variation in scores show that some passengers are being let down. We know that congestion continues to be a major issue in some areas.

We’ll be working with Government, bus operators and local authorities to drive improvements so that passengers see better reliability, journey times and increased value for money promised in the national bus strategy.

Transport Focus will use the results of the survey as a key metric to monitor and evaluate Bus Service Improvement Plans. We will work with transport authorities and bus operators to fully understand the results and focus on plans to improve the passenger experience and attract new passengers onto the bus.

Overall journey satisfaction by area

Rank Area Satisfied Area type
1 East Riding of Yorkshire 90% Rural
2 Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole 90% Urban other
3 Greater Nottingham 87% Urban other
4 Stoke-on-Trent 85% Urban other
5 Nottinghamshire 85% Semi-rural
6 Suffolk 85% Rural
7 Cornwall 85% Rural
8 Thurrock 84% Urban other
9 City of York 84% Urban other
10 Derbyshire 83% Semi-rural
11 Northumberland 83% Rural
12 Portsmouth 83% Urban other
13 Tyne & Wear 83% Urban metropolitan
14 Cheshire East 83% Semi-rural
15 Liverpool City Region 83% Urban metropolitan
16 North East Lincolnshire 83% Urban other
17 Surrey 83% Urban other
18 Leicester City 82% Urban other
19 Brighton and Hove 82% Urban other
20 Cheshire West & Chester 81% Semi-rural
21 Norfolk 81% Rural
22 West Sussex 81% Urban other
23 South Yorkshire 81% Urban metropolitan
24 Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen 80% Urban other
25 Luton 80% Urban other
26 East Sussex 79% Semi-rural
27 Greater Manchester 79% Urban metropolitan
28 Oxfordshire 78% Rural
29 West of England and North Somerset 77% Urban other
30 Warrington 76% Urban other
31 Tees Valley 76% Urban other
32 West Midlands 76% Urban metropolitan
33 Durham 75% Rural
34 West Yorkshire 73% Urban metropolitan

Overall journey satisfaction by operator

Rank Operator name Satisfied Operating group
14 Reading Buses* 86% Non-major group

*Reading Buses took part in the survey across its network and is not part of any particular area (although routes will generally pass through Reading Borough). Their results have been included in the operator league table, which can be found on page 28 of the summary report.


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