Transport User Voice – June 2019 – Making bus a better choice for young people

28 May 2019

Using the bus should be as easy as ordering pizza say young people

Young people are the biggest users of the bus – but don’t feel services are designed for them. While overall satisfaction for 16 to 18-year olds rose to 80 per cent in the latest Bus Passenger Survey (from 77 per cent in 2017), they remain the least satisfied group of passengers.

To help share good practice, Transport Focus published a guide on 17 May to help bus operators and local authorities make bus a better choice for young people.

In February and March bus operators and local authorities participated in a series of workshops convened by Transport Focus to start a nationwide conversation on how to make buses more appealing to young people. This followed up on research published in 2018, Using the bus: what young people think, to better understand the experience and views of young people. 

Young people want getting the bus to be simple and intuitive. Young people say they are deterred from using buses because they’re not as user friendly as ordering pizzas or booking cinema tickets on their phones. But space on young people’s phones is limited, so bus apps need to earn their place by becoming valuable. Bus operators also need to work hard to offer services that will meet the expectations of these young passengers.

Participants at each of the five Transport Focus workshops shared their experiences of initiatives from around the country that are already delivering benefits for young people.  

The guide makes clear recommendations for improving services to attract and encourage more young people to keep using the bus. In particular: 

  • smart fares – discounted fares for 16 to 18-year olds that are easy to buy and understand 
  • one stop nationwide bus app – one central source for information and ticketing provided by the bus industry that is intuitive, easy-to-use and accessed via an app that will earn its place on a young person’s phone 
  • better on board – Wi-Fi and USB charge points at every seat.  

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