Almost three-quarters of bus passengers are pleased with the service provided by their local buses, a Department for Transport survey into passenger experiences reveals today.
The Public experiences of and attitudes towards bus travel report was commissioned by the Department to improve understanding of the opinions of both users and non-users of their local services.
Passengers were found to be generally positive about their experiences, with the vast majority rating the services provided as either 'very' or 'fairly' good. Furthermore, most households could claim to live within a short walk of their nearest bus stop with a quarter of all adults using their local bus service at least once a week.
Amongst the findings the survey showed that:
* 72% of passengers who gave their opinion of local bus services rated them as very or fairly good.
* Bus services are accessible - 92% of adults can walk to their nearest bus stop within 13 minutes.
* Regular bus use is relatively common - 25% of adults said they used local bus services at least weekly, and a further 13% at least monthly.
* The average person made 65 trips by local bus, travelling 296 miles, in 2006.
The survey also reveals the challenge of encouraging more people to use the bus instead of the car for local journeys. Just over half of 'non-bus users' stated that the convenience offered by their own car dissuaded them from using the bus more often, with relatively few mentioning cost, frequency or safety as concerns. However, half of all non-users felt they would travel more by bus if they saw continuing improvements in the services provided.
Transport Minister Rosie Winterton said:
"Bus services play a crucial role in communities across the country - as well as helping to cut congestion and tackle climate change - and I am encouraged that this survey shows people value those services.
"We recognise, however, that more still needs to be done and that is why we published the draft Local Transport Bill earlier this year, outlining proposals to give local authorities the right mix of powers to further improve local bus services."
Public transport statistics also published today show use of buses in England rose by 4% in the year since free local off-peak bus travel was introduced for older and disabled people in April 2006.
This scheme will be extended in April 2008 to allow older and disabled people to travel for free anywhere in England, rather than just in their local area.