What are the barriers to using the bus in Wales?

01 May 2024

Bus passengers and non-bus users in Wales have made their views known about the barriers to them choosing to travel by bus.

A new Transport Focus survey Information and infrastructure barriers to bus use in Wales – the passenger view undertaken in partnership with Transport for Wales (TfW) has been published today which provides insight from passengers and non -users across the region.

Some the current barriers came as no surprise – for instance passengers may be aware of the location of their local bus stop simply from going past it. But they may not know what the timetable is, where they can get to by bus, what route it follows, which side of the road to wait, or how much it will cost.

Buses were seen as having advantages and disadvantages compared with other forms of transport including best public transport for short journeys and connecting towns and villages. But the research also found that passenger experiences and expectations varied by type of location for example whether rural or urban. In rural areas there was some sense of gratitude that there was a service running at all and passengers tended to divide between two attitudes – those resigned to the service levels, and those who would like to see improvements and that rural areas should have as good a bus service as urban areas.

David Sidebottom, Director, Transport Focus said: “Passengers have told us in other recent bus research that frequent, reliable and value for money services are the most important factors in making buses feel like a realistic transport option for those with a choice.

However, in Wales other significant barriers exist in terms of not being able to find or understand information about a journey, and not being comfortable using a bus stop.

The provision of information at the stop along with seating, shelter and feeling safe are particularly important, especially if the stop is in an exposed position or when passengers may have some time to wait. So, we welcome TfW’s commitment to use this work on future planning to tackle the barriers and to ensure that passengers’ views are taken into account in setting minimum standards.”

What have passengers told us

  • At the journey planning stage: “Changes in the bus times depending on Saturday or Sunday – I’ve also been caught out by it not being a term time day. That really does catch you out if you’re not in touch with people who have children. A lot of the bits of information on the timetable are really small.”
  • Information needs when planning a bus journey: “How long it’s going to possibly take? How many stops there’s going to be? Where it’s going.”
  • Barriers on the way to the bus stop: “When I think about where I have to walk to get to the stop on my own in the evening, that has an impact.”
  • Barriers to bus use at the stop, station or interchange: “Standing around at a bus stop that is a wind tunnel and is dirty and uncomfortable, without any proper seating is not exactly an incentive.”
  • The overall journey: “How long it’s going to possibly take? How many stops there’s going to be? Where it’s going to end. Just so if it’s convenient, which stop to get off towards the end? I think that information is probably important to me.”
  • Information needs at the stop: “Real-time information – so comparing with Leeds you can see how full the bus is, how many seats are available, the actual time it’s turning up.”

Lee Robinson, Executive Director for Regional Transport and Integration at Transport for Wales, commented: “The Welsh Government and TfW have ambitious plans to change the way bus services operate in Wales to improve the customer experience, help decarbonise the transport network and integrate buses with other forms of public transport and active travel routes.

“Ahead of these proposed changes it’s vital we understand the barriers people face to using buses in Wales and this research provides important information to help shape our work.

“We are committed to working in partnership with local authorities, bus operators and key stakeholders such as Transport Focus to deliver positive improvements for bus passengers across Wales.”


  • We welcome TfW’s plans to standardise and develop a priority list of features and improvements for bus stops in different locations and improve the bus experience for passengers no matter where they live.
  • We’re pleased to be working with TfW and other industry stakeholders across Great Britain to make sure the findings and recommendations from this work feed into local and national planning.
  • With better information online and at bus stops, these initiatives can only improve the passenger experience and encourage bus use.


Press office contact

Members of the media can contact the Transport Focus press office for further information or to arrange an interview on 0300 123 2170

Email contact: colette.gill@transportfocus.org.uk

This media release is also available in the Welsh language here

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