Transport User Voice October 2023 – Bus passengers’ satisfaction encouraging

02 October 2023

Interim results of new survey

Eight in 10 bus passengers were satisfied with their last journey in a new survey.

Mid-year results released from Transport Focus’s new ‘Your Bus Journey’ user survey Transport Focus showed encouraging results overall, but with satisfaction varying widely across the country. At the halfway point the survey has gathered passenger feedback on more than 14,000 journeys in England and is being used as a key metric by many local transport authorities to monitor and evaluate their Bus Service Improvement Plans.

The survey looks at how satisfied passengers are with their most recent journey and other key factors such as their experience on board the bus, at the bus stop, with the bus driver and if they think the journey provided good value for money. Building on over a decade of running the previous Bus Passenger Survey and working with the industry, Your Bus Journey is a new way to capture and report on what bus passengers want from their journeys. In the new survey researchers approach passengers at bus stops and on board buses, capturing feedback on a wider selection of routes.

What have passengers said?

  • Satisfaction with the bus driver consistently scores the highest – with 85 per cent satisfied overall. We know from our past research that the bus driver can make all the difference between a good and great journey.
  • 67 per cent of passengers say they are satisfied with the value for money of their fares – and nearly four in 10 very satisfied. This is against a backdrop of the current cost-of-living issues, and changes in service provision in some areas. The introduction of some fare initiatives in areas, such as the £2 capped fare, appear to be making a positive difference for some passengers.
  • There are some mixed results with significant ranges between some of the 35 participating areas. These include the passenger wait time at the bus stop which at its highest was 84 per cent but at its lowest 57 per cent – nearly a 30 percentage point difference between areas.

This large-scale, independent survey of bus passengers provides a new benchmark for local transport authorities and bus operators – and it’s encouraging to see many passengers are satisfied with their journey. However, the variations across areas and operations seen so far show that more needs to be done for passengers.

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 bus.

Transport Focus will continue to use the Your Bus Journey survey to make the case for future improvements and identify good practice. This will help transport authorities, bus operators and Government to invest in the things that matter most to current and future bus passengers.

By the end of 2023 the survey will include the experiences of 35,000 bus passenger journeys across 35 areas of England and six regional transport partnerships in Scotland providing robust, comparable and benchmarked results. Bus operator scores will be available in a full year report published in early 2024


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