Research conducted by Transport Focus has revealed the pandemic’s impact on public transport users. It aims to offer an insight into how operators can rebuild following coronavirus COVID-19.

An ongoing survey of 2,000 transport users across the UK, conducted by watchdog Transport Focus, aims to reveal public attitudes to public transport and how operators can build back with users’ needs at the heart of their operation.

The study found that transport use dropped in some areas to just 5% among respondents in May, with a peak of 19% in September, falling back with further restrictions, Transport Focus has revealed.

The research further indicates that 81% of users aboard buses felt safe. This is in contrast to non-users, less than half of whom say they would feel safe aboard a bus.

“There is room to improve,” says Transport Focus Insight Manager Louise Coward. “We need to understand much more about this so we know what is going to give public transport users that encouragement and reassurance to return.”

Understanding concerns is key to helping users return

Understanding the main concerns raised by those using and not using public transport may help guide operators in messaging around public transport safety.

Key issues include the wearing of face coverings, whether there is enough space on board a vehicle for social distancing, the visibility of sanitation measures, and whether fellow passengers are observing social distancing measures.

Transport Focus is monitoring these issues among passengers and reporting on how attitudes change in a ‘passenger experience barometer’ (pictured). The data is published every week on Transport Focus’ website.

passenger experience barometer

“We have been monitoring these specific measures over time and recognising how important they are, we put them into a dashboard which summarises the information and which will be published on a weekly basis,” adds Ms Coward. “People are expecting things to look different in both the short term and beyond.

“To address that we will keep finding out what people think and share the information and make sure it is used as widely as possible. This will help people using it to make the right kind of decisions and improve things for passengers, giving the reassurance that is needed.”

More information is available in the full story, available in the December issue of routeone.