Regular bus travel beats car for health benefits
New research reveals taking the bus can be good for your health and could help tackle the obesity epidemic in the UK
- Nearly half of UK adult bus users take the bus to get regular exercise, with over one in ten people using the bus to help them unwind after work
- One in five bus users walk over half a mile from their home to the bus stop every day, or five miles every week
- Catch the Bus Week 2014 – running from 28 April-4 May – is a national celebration of the benefits of taking the bus and a great opportunity to change your travel habits
New research from Greener Journeys, the campaign to promote sustainable travel, reveals that:
- Nearly half (44%) of UK adult bus users use the walk to the bus stop as a way of getting regular exercise
- Four out of ten (42%) of those surveyed also said they feel healthier and fitter because of travelling by bus and more than half (59%) said that the bus gives them the chance to get some fresh air
Physical inactivity causes premature deaths, obesity and costs the UK billions of pounds every year. It is vital that people incorporate regular physical activity into their everyday lives – walking to the bus stop can be one easy way to achieve this, especially since nine out of ten (87%) of households in the UK are within a six minute walk of a bus stop.
Buses are the backbone of the country, however, their merit and importance is often undervalued by many. Catch the Bus Week 2014 is a national celebration of the bus, aiming to encourage people to make the switch from the car to the bus during the week. Almost 100 bus companies, passenger organisations and local authorities are running events, ticket giveaways and community engagement campaigns across the UK.
Importantly, both young and older people both use the bus to get exercise:
- Over half (58%) of 25-34 year olds said the bus made them feel fitter healthier, as did half (52%) of those aged 65 or over
- Over half (54%) of 18-24 year olds said walking to the bus enables them to take regular exercise, which increases to 60% among those aged 65 or over
The bus can also be a way to relax and de-stress after a long day at work or school:
- Over one in ten people (13%) said that the bus helps them unwind after work – one in three said it was relaxing and enjoyable to take the bus
- Young people also use the bus as a way to relax – over a fifth of 25-34 year olds (21%) say taking the bus helps them unwind after work.
One in five bus users walk over half a mile from their home to the bus stop every day, which is five miles every week if commuting by bus to work. One in ten of bus users walk over a mile to their bus stop – the equivalent of ten miles every week. Greener Journeys research found that the daily short walk to and from bus stop and destination can burn 22,630 calories a year, with daily bus users clocking up the annual equivalent of 11 marathons.
Greener Journeys is working with Bus For Us during Catch the Bus Week 2014 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.
Catch the Bus Week Ambassador, Olympian gold medallist, Anna Watkins MBE, commented:
“Regular physical exercise is vital to stay fit and healthy. However, incorporating this into our day-to-day lives can be difficult and as a new mother, I really recognise this. Taking the bus is a great way to get daily exercise and is much less stressful and cheaper than driving. Why not get off the bus a few stop earlier and walk a little further – those extra few minutes walking can burn extra calories that you would not get if you travelled by car.”
Dr David Lewis, Chairman and Director of Research at Mindlab International, commented:
“The real health benefits from exercise occur when it is regular. This research demonstrates that something as easy as walking to the bus can help people incorporate exercise into their daily lives and develop healthy habits that can be built on. With many people struggling to balance exercise with work or family commitments, this could be the answer.
“This research also demonstrates that buses can also be a way to unwind and de-stress. Overall it is clear that using the bus instead of the car could enhance both personal and national wellbeing.”
Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys explains:
“Buses are a vital lifeline for millions across the UK. From getting children to school, carrying people to work, the shops or to their local park buses join up the dots in our society and our economy.
“This week is a crucial springboard for greater attention to the whole host of ways that the bus benefits Britain, from how it helps people fit vital physical activity into hectic lives to how it helps cut clogging congestion that damages local economies.
“I hope the hundreds of activities going on across the country will prompt car drivers and infrequent bus users to give the bus a try. It’s great that our politicians are showing their support for bus travel as an affordable and sustainable alternative to private transport.”
About the research
Greener Journeys commissioned Populus to interview 4,111 GB adults online between 7-13 March 2014. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For more details please visit www.populus.co.uk.
About Catch the Bus Week
Catch the Bus Week was first launched in 2013 in partnership with bus operators throughout the UK. The campaign provides a much needed opportunity for a national celebration of the many benefits of bus travel, which too often don’t get enough attention. And the campaign really matters. Participants in Catch the Bus Week 2014 are Arriva, Stagecoach, FirstGroup, Go-Ahead and many local operators, passenger organisations, local authorities and councils all over the UK including, Blackpool Transport, Cardiff Bus, Chalkwell Coach Hire and Tours, Confederation for Passenger Transport Ipswich Buses, Kinchbus, Mersey Travel, Nottingham City Transport, Perryman’s Buses, Reading Buses, Transport for Greater Manchester, Transdev, Trent Barton, Yorkshire Tiger, Xelabus Limited, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Buckinghamshire County Council, Cheshire West & Chester Council, Darlington Borough Council, Devon County Council, Essex County Council, Herefordshire Council, Norfolk County Council, North East Lincolnshire Council.
More information can be found at 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, 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.