New survey highlights disparity in regional bus passenger satisfaction across England

Posted: 19 March 2024 | | No comments yet

First year results for 2023 from the ‘Your Bus Journey’ survey conducted by Transport Focus has shown that passenger satisfaction varies widely across the country, with punctuality and value for money playing a key role.

New survey highlights disparity in regional passenger satisfaction across England

Bus passengers across England have spoken – with 80% of those travelling saying that they were satisfied with their last journey in a new survey published by independent watchdog, Transport Focus.

First year results for 2023 from the new ‘Your Bus Journey’ survey showed passenger satisfaction varying widely, with passengers in East Riding of Yorkshire and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole the most satisfied overall with their journey at 90%. While passengers in West Yorkshire were the least satisfied, with 73%.

In its first year, the survey has gathered passenger feedback on more than 35,000 journeys in England. The survey looks at how satisfied passengers are with their most recent journey and a range of 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.

Results show significant variation in scores for waiting times and bus punctuality across the areas surveyed. Even in better scoring areas, congestion in peak travel periods is a challenge for operators and reflected in the scores given by passengers.

Nearly half of passengers surveyed in Transport Focus’s survey (48%) say that the bus was the only real means of transport available to make that journey, so it’s vital that services are on time, reliable and offer good value for money.

Overall, 67% of fare paying passengers say that they are satisfied with value for money. Against the backdrop of the cost-of-living crisis, the introduction of the £2 single fare cap and other ticket deals, results appear to have held up – with those in rural areas taking longer distance journeys often benefiting the most. Where value for money ratings are lower, this may be attributed to less reliable journeys or tickets and passes used by frequent travellers that have increased in price in the past year.

David Sidebottom, Director at Transport Focus, said: “It is good to see that many passengers are satisfied with their journey – 80% overall satisfaction is a good start. However, wide variation in scores show that some passengers are being let down.

“As congestion continues to bite, government, bus operators and local authorities must work together so that passengers see the improvements in reliability, journey times and better value for money fares that were promised in the national bus strategy.

“We’ll be using the results from this survey as a benchmark for local transport authorities and bus operators to drive improvements and attract more people onto buses.”

Following the significant UK Government investment to make buses better in the National Bus Strategy and £2 bus fare cap, Transport Focus wants to see the industry deliver on its commitment to make buses more reliable, frequent and better value for money.

Key highlights include:

  • Value for money: the greatest range of scores across the survey are for value for money. Passenger scores range from 87% (East Riding of Yorkshire) down to 55% (Brighton and Hove and West of England and North Somerset)
  • Punctuality: overall, 70% of passengers are satisfied with the punctuality of the bus. Passenger scores range from 86% (Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole) down to 62% (West Midlands)
  • Waiting times: waiting time scores also show a significant variation across the survey, ranging from 82% in Greater Nottingham down to 60% in the Tees Valley and Durham.

Satisfaction with the bus driver consistently scores the highest – with 85% satisfied overall. Transport Focus knows from its past research that bus drivers can make the difference between a good and great journey.

As a key metric to monitor and evaluate Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs), Transport Focus 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 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.

Related modes

Related countries

Related organisations

Related people