Transport User Voice – March 2018 – How do we make the bus more appealing to young people?

22 February 2018

Young people are the biggest users of the bus – but don’t feel services are designed for them.

Transport Focus held a launch event in Birmingham earlier this month to talk about the results of the Using the bus – what young people think report. We brought together bus operators and local authorities, young people who use the bus and experts from outside the transport sector to start addressing how to make using the bus more appealing to young people.

Director David Sidebottom said:

“We know that young people – like most other public transport users – are concerned with the value for money, punctuality and reliability of their service. Our report is a call to action for governments, local authorities and bus operators to act now to make sure they don’t lose their customers of the future.”

Young people had the opportunity to directly share their personal experiences of using the bus with members of the bus industry as well as having the opportunity to ask questions.

While several bus operators have brought in initiatives, including cheaper fares and Wi-Fi for example, the report finds that such schemes are limited across the country.

Young people said that:

  • they don’t feel services are designed with them in mind, or that enough is being done to encourage them and make them feel valued
  • not knowing how the system works or what to do is a barrier and a source of anxiety about ‘getting it right’
  • improving the journey experience is important
  • there is a need to design systems better, learning from other industries in the way they appeal to young people
  • fares for young people are confusing and inconsistent. Over half didn’t know what special fares and discounts are available for young people or even if they are available at all.

To maintain the momentum the watchdog will follow up with workshops to help operators and authorities focus on how to improve young people’s experience of bus. Click here to read the report.

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