Bus crucial for family and community life in the UK

Greener Journeys
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Surprising stats about the bus say so much about society

  • New research reveals that 55% of passengers view the bus as crucial for family life – 41% believe they would spend less time with their family without the bus and two thirds of regular passengers believe that the bus creates strong community ties
  • Nearly half (47%) of bus passengers say they would spend less time with friends if they did not have access to the bus; 53% among the under 25s
  • 81% of bus users see the bus as the fabric of UK society, connecting them with British institutions such as the pub and sporting events, in addition to the theatre and shops
  • The bus isn’t just helping people connect with friends, family and events at the end of the journey – people use their time on the bus to connect themselves to society; 37% like to talk to people they’ve just met, 50% spend the journey ‘people watching’ and one third listen in on other people’s conversations
  • Catch the Bus Week 2015 – running from 29 June-5 July – is a national celebration of the benefits of the bus and a fun opportunity to shake up your travel method

With two thirds of all public transport journeys in the UK made by bus, new research from sustainable transport group Greener Journeys reveals that British bus passengers believe that the bus is the fabric of UK society and, if they did not have access to the bus, they would spend less time with friends and family; at events and restaurants; and exercising. The research outlines surprising statistics which set out in detail how the bus enables fulfilment for the Great British public.

Catch the Bus Week is a national celebration of the benefits of the bus. From 29 June – 5 July, over 160 bus companies, passenger groups and local authorities will be running events, ticket giveaways and community engagement campaigns across the UK.

Bus passengers believe that some parts of their lives would be less fulfilled without the bus:

  • 50% say they would attend less events if they didn’t have the bus (58% of under 25s)
  • A large proportion said they would spend less time with friends (47%; 53% of under 25 olds) and family (41%; 44% of under 35s)
  • Many say they would go to restaurants and cafes (43%) and pubs (37%) less often without the bus, and 48% say that using the bus helps them get their regular exercise
  • 55% of respondents said that the bus is crucial for family life
  • 8 out of 10 passengers know someone who depends on the bus
  • 71% believe that the bus improves their quality of life

The bus is part of the fabric of UK society as families up and down the country benefit from the bus:

  • 25% of people say they use the bus to go on family trips together – which is even higher in those with young children (preschool age: 46%, primary school age: 52%)
  • Out of those surveyed, 40% said they visit relatives by bus, while 22% have relatives visit them by bus
  • 48% of parents with secondary school age children said they feel safer with their children using the bus compared to cycling or walking to school – the same was true for 36% of parents with primary school age children
  • Two thirds of regular passengers believe that the bus creates strong community ties
  • 81% feel that the bus is a traditional part of British life

The research reveals that people are also using their time on the bus to connect with society:

  • Half of passengers like to ‘people watch’ on the bus, with one third of bus users admitting they use their time of the bus to listen in on other people’s conversations
  • 37% of passengers say they talk to people they’ve just met, increasing to 47% among those over 55
  • 54% say they sit take and take in the view while on the bus
  • Relaxing (39%), reading a paper or online news (39%) and listening to music (32%) are also popular activities
  • Others will spend their time reading on the bus (21%) or browsing social media (19%; 40% of people under 35)
  • However sleeping (8%), working (5%) and catching up on TV (1%) on the bus are less popular

Consumer behaviour expert Phil Graves, commented:
“It is fascinating the way people use their time on the bus to connect themselves to society, from talking to people they’ve just met, people watching and just enjoying the view.

“The research reveals that the bus isn’t just helping people connect with friends, family and events at the end of the journey; the journey itself is an important part of feeling connected to our community.

“Studies have shown that social interaction is just as important to our life expectancy as more commonly referenced factors such diet and exercise; the bus is benefiting people in more ways than people realise. So people should take note of what regular bus users already know during Catch the Bus Week – there’s more than just pleasure in the journey, it will also do you good!”

Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys explains:
“Buses are a vital lifeline for millions across the UK. From getting children to school and people to work, bringing people to the shops or to their local park, to ensuring people can meet friends and visit relatives, buses join up the dots in our society. They do more than just bring us from A to B; they connect us with the people and things we love most, helping to fulfil our lives.

“This week is a crucial springboard for greater attention to the benefits of bus travel, from connecting communities and people, to supporting local economies through shopping and helping cut clogging congestion and CO2 that damages local areas.

“I hope the hundreds of activities taking place across the country will prompt car drivers and infrequent bus users to give the bus a try.”

Buses Minister Andrew Jones said:
“It is fantastic that the whole bus industry has come together to promote Catch the Bus Week, and I fully support the campaign.

“Buses provide a vital service to local communities as well as reducing the number of cars on the roads. Low emission buses are also helping to improve air quality, particularly in built-up areas.

“The government also recognises the importance of buses in rural areas, particularly for the elderly and less mobile, and in March it was announced that more than 300 charities and community groups are due to get new minibuses from the DfT’s £25 million community transport minibus fund.”

-ENDS-

For further information on Catch the Bus Week 2015 contact:
Email: greenerjourneys@mhpc.com
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3128 8555
Web: www.catchthebusweek.co.uk
Twitter: @GreenerJourneys and #CTBW

About the research
Greener Journey commissioned MindLab to undertake research to help understand the different types of bus users and their character traits. 1,000 UK adults who regularly take the bus were surveyed (from 22-25 May 2015). The respondents were also asked to outline why they choose to take the bus and the associated benefits of bus travel.

About MindLab
Mindlab International is an independent research consultancy based in Brighton. Using neuroscience and psychology they offer the most effective research available by finding out how people feel as well as what they think.

About Catch the Bus Week
Catch the Bus Week 2015 is a national celebration of the benefits of taking the bus. It will take place from 29 June – 5 July and aims to encourage people who don’t normally take the bus to give it a try. Now in its third year running, Greener Journeys is spearheading the campaign which will see bus operators, passenger organisations and local authorities come together to promote the benefits of bus travel. For more information contact contact@greenerjourneys.com or @GreenerJourneys.

Greener Journeys is working with Traveline during Catch the Bus Week 2015 to help people plan their bus journey, making it quick and easy to switch your regular car journey to the bus during the week. To find out how to get the most from buses locally and to plan your journey visit www.catchthebusweek.co.uk.

About Greener Journeys
Greener Journeys is a campaign dedicated to encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices. It aims to reduce CO2 emissions from transport by encouraging people to switch some of their car journeys to bus or coach instead. Switching from car to bus for just one journey a month would mean one billion fewer car journeys on our roads and would save 2 million tonnes of CO2 every year. It is a coalition of Britain’s leading bus companies and other supporters including Transport for London, Transport Focus, Campaign for Better Transport, the RAC Foundation, Confederation for Passenger Transport (CPT), and the Passenger Transport Executive Group (pteg). Its primary funders are bus companies Arriva, FirstGroup, Go-Ahead, and Stagecoach.

Image by: merat.goharshadi

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