Many of us use public transport for work and pleasure, but as fares rise and trust falls, we set out to discover what passengers are really saying about Britain’s transport network…
The average UK household spends £530 a year on public transport and with the continuing squeeze on budgets, the cost of transport is a big concern. Just three in 10 are cutting spending on public transport – that’s fewer than the number cutting back on food – primarily because transport spending is very difficult to cut. I will renew my TFL season ticket yet again this Christmas as I need it to get to work – irrespective of the price rise. At £1,300 a year it is painful but unavoidable.
In our latest Quarterly Consumer Report we analysed thousands of tweets to explore what the key issues were for commuters and passengers across the UK.
All-aboard the transport squeeze
Cost and affordability of travel came out top, with a third of the tweets highlighting the continued squeeze on budgets. Some people were concerned they would be unable to afford rising transport costs in light of other price rises and benefit cuts; others are making changes to their commutes; and some people are using credit to pay for their train fares. One tweet asked:
‘How are people going to afford the bus fare on top of #BedroomTax #energy. Can see more & more relying on #foodbanks.’
Students appear particularly vulnerable to transport costs. One student tweeted:
‘After paying for rent, and a bus pass for the year, I have £71 left for everything for the rest of the term from student finance.’
Another stated that; ‘All the money I get goes to food and bus fare.’
The price of public transport is also influencing where people work, with people weighing up rising transport costs and stagnant wages. Some say they’ve turned to cycling while others say they’ve known people give up a job because they couldn’t afford the fare.
Do rising fares improve service?
Customer service was also a key concern, with one in 10 tweets on this issue. Consumer expectations of the service they receive are high, especially given rising fares. One tweet complained:
‘I pay £400 a term for a train ticket… A little customer service wouldn’t go amiss!’
As we approach another year of fare rises millions will be squeezed to pay for essentials like transport, heating and eating. Have you cut back on travel costs or changed your routine to make ends meet? And if you were in charge of Britain’s public transport for a day what would you change?