Bus operators should put more focus on young passengers as a dissatisfied and underappreciated market, Transport Focus has said.
The watchdog said that while overall satisfaction for 16 to 18-year old bus passengers has risen to 80% (from 77% in 2017), they remain the least satisfied group of passengers.
It has published a new guide to help bus operators and local authorities make using the bus a better choice for young people.
David Sidebottom, director at Transport Focus, said: ‘More bus operators and local authorities are pursuing creative initiatives that encourage young people to catch the bus. Young people are the biggest users of the bus – but don’t feel services are designed for them.
‘They want using the bus to be as simple and intuitive as ordering pizza. Bus operators and local authorities must seize the opportunity to cater for their customers of the future.’
Buses minister Nusrat Ghani MP said: ‘This Transport Focus research is vital in showing how to encourage young people to continue to use buses in the future – both councils and bus companies should follow this best practice.'
Transport Focus said its report makes clear recommendations for improving services to attract more young people to keep using the bus. In particular:
- Smart fares – discounted fares for 16 to 18-year olds that are easy to buy and understand
- One stop nationwide bus app – one central source for information and ticketing provided by the bus industry that is intuitive, easy-to-use and accessed via an app that will earn its place on a young person’s phone
- Better on board – wi-fi and USB charge points at every seat
Last week Ms Ghani wrote to local authorities reminding them they have powers to take greater control of their areas' bus services such as franchising or enhanced partnerships.