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What’s the holdup? Exploring bus service punctuality

We regularly ask passengers if their buses turn up on time. We know from our Bus Passenger Survey that passengers are consistently less satisfied with the punctuality of their buses than they are with bus services as a whole. Improving punctuality is their top priority for improvement.

So we thought it was high time that we talked to the people responsible for making sure the buses show up when they are supposed to. Did they know when, where and why their buses were delayed? What were they doing to tackle the problem?

The bus punctuality project represented something of a departure for our work so far for bus passengers, in that we were working alongside operators and local authorities as they analysed their data and decided how to improve their services.

The project has enhanced our understanding of when, where and why buses are delayed. While not representing a statistically valid sample of the country’s vast variety of bus routes and operating environments, our case studies have served to highlight the challenges of setting timetables to reflect variable patterns of traffic and patronage and have thrown up a number of recurrent themes, including traffic and parking, boarding and alighting, inadequate recovery time and, perhaps most surprisingly, exiting bus stations.

Download the report and case studies here, or click for a sample of an action plan

  • Bus
  • Service levels and timetables
  • Passenger experience

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