Transport User Voice – May 2021 – What do people want to see on buses?

28 April 2021

How to get passengers back

What do people want from their bus service once lockdown restrictions ease?

In our most in-depth piece of research yet we look at what people would like to see that would encourage them to use buses.

In our report The route ahead: getting passengers back on buses we gathered the views of current, lapsed and non-users to see where bus operators could improve. This is particularly important as we published our findings in advance of some lockdown restrictions easing in Great Britain, with many people returning to the bus after months of not having travelled.

We found that passengers’ priorities for improvement before the pandemic have not gone away. People still want frequent, punctual services and value for money on tickets.

Our omnibus research has shown that there is a gap between perception and reality. It’s crucial that operators show the benefits of using the bus to encourage people to try it. Also passenger confidence must be rebuilt as we continue along governments’ roadmaps out of lockdown.

Ticketing and value for money must be focussed on. The pandemic has changed the way we travel and for many the daily commute will never be the same. Our research has shown the majority of people expect to work from home more in future which means buses cannot depend on those going to work five days a week. This means flexible ticketing to reflect a new pattern of working and travelling should be promoted.

Covid-19 has also changed the way we see cleanliness. While a clean bus was always a basic demand this is now vital to passengers feeling safe. The safety measures that have made buses cleaner than ever to tackle infection should be maintained, even after the virus has gone. Clean buses should be here to stay.

New buses must be designed to allow social distancing. By adding an extra set of doors where possible these changes can also help to reduce journey times. Punctuality can further be improved through effective communication and partnership between local authorities and bus operators to reduce congestion on roads. The National Bus Strategy acknowledges the importance of this.

We are currently following up this work with a major survey which will help flesh out our initial findings from this report.


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