Transport User Voice – December 2020 – What do passengers want?

30 November 2020

Our transport user Covid debate

What do transport users need to help them travel with confidence now and in the future?

More than 350 people joined us at our online event ‘The transport user Covid debate’ to hear transport minister Baroness Vere and industry leaders discuss this. You can watch the event in full here:

The need for transport providers to make sure passengers travelling now feel safe and welcome was a key issue throughout the discussions. Face coverings stimulated a lot of debate, with recognition that it’s important to continue to drive up compliance levels, but this must ensure the small minority of passengers who are exempt are not disadvantaged.

It was clear that for public transport to be sustainable in the longer term it’s going to need to attract new customers, not just rely on winning back regulars who have stayed away this year. Lots of opportunities were highlighted here too, especially with rail fares reform and new marketing campaigns to grow the leisure market.

Throughout the event we heard from passengers in our Transport User Community about their experiences of travelling and hopes for transport ‘post-Covid’.

To coincide with the event we also published new insight on our communities’ travel experiences. We found that members value public transport and hope that it will evolve with enhanced cleanliness and less crowding after Covid-19. Many rail users are relishing the opportunity not to be ‘packed into’ a crowded train and see the reduced passenger numbers as an opportunity for rail companies to refine their punctuality, reliability and capacity.

Members of the bus community also feel much more health conscious and wary of hygiene and germs in general. They have noted that their local service has been cleaner and more pleasant than before. They do not want to ‘let go of’ the progress that has been made.

Our communities argue that even once the pandemic ends, working from home is here to stay. They feel that public transport will need to find ways of being sustainable with fewer passengers. However, passengers are realising just how much they value their rail and bus services.

Public transport will need to be even more focussed on passengers in future. It’s clear from passengers’ feedback that they want to see the quality of their journeys improved beyond Covid-19, rather than just going back to the old way of doing things.


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