Seats on buses could be redesigned to help passengers socialise, transport bosses have said, after new research revealed how passengers spend their time while travelling.
The Urban Transport Group (UTG), which commissioned the research conducted by transport consultancy SYSTRA – found that one in five (20%) passengers socialised with a companion, although a similar number (21%) listened to music or podcasts.
Older and young people are more sociable on buses
Older people (16-24 and 65 and over) were more likely to spend their time on the bus socialising than those aged 25-64 years.
The most popular on-board activity (undertaken by 45% of people) was window gazing/people watching, followed by using the internet for leisure (27%) and phoning/texting (24%).
Unsurprisingly, the younger the respondent, the more likely they were to use the internet (67% of 16-24 year olds, compared with 30% of those over 65 years).
The UTG’s director, Jonathan Bray, said the research was the latest in its on-going programme looking at ‘what’s really driving bus patronage’.
He said: ‘The research is important as it suggests that bus passengers really do place value on the way they spend their time during their journey. This has implications for the way buses are designed - from clean windows and on-board WiFi to seating layouts that better enable socialising.
‘This report shows that people like the time they spend on the bus – with the right bus design and marketing we can further accentuate that positive for the bus.’
The research was based on surveys of over 1,100 people on two bus routes in Leeds and Nottingham (route 36 in each case).
One in five of those surveyed on the Leeds route said one of the reasons they chose to travel by bus was because it gave them the ability to do other things while travelling.
The report also found that 83% on the Nottingham route and 89% on the Leeds route were satisfied or very satisfied with how they spent their time on the bus.