Bringing shared transport to the forefront of the UK’s travel infrastructure is a massive challenge. Building the future that we want to live in, where sustainable, shared transport is the first choice for people on the move, is critical to a planet on the brink of climate crisis. 

We have to work together to encourage more than just a return to public transport, but a fundamental shift to the way people choose to travel – an outcome that mirrors both the National Bus Strategy (NBS) and UK technology company Passenger’s mission.

Following a year of unprecedented digital transformation, the NBS is an opportunity to universally reform provisions and reclaim the roads. It is time to build back better, avoid a car-led recovery, and ensure that buses are seen as an attractive and practical alternative to private cars.

As advocates for digital change to reduce barriers to public transport, Passenger works closely with operators, meeting their unique needs with a range of technical solutions. 

“Access to public transport is crucial to the economy. Passenger offers ways for operators to share up-to-the-minute information with customers at the touch of a phone, helping empower the public to get back on buses” explains Passenger CTO Dave Hulbert.

Enhanced Partnerships with Local Transport Authorities (LTA’s) will be the first step for many operators, and in 2020, Passenger and Hertfordshire County Council launched the Intalink website. Combining 25 operators, bus travel information including county-wide journey planning and real-time information is easily accessible. 

“We’re guided by our knowledge of what users want, plus operator’s insight into users’ needs. This has led to products that are rated exceptionally highly and address those needs, such as bus capacity reporting, encouraging active travel and addressing first and last-mile problems by joining buses up with other travel modes” explains Passenger CEO Tom Quay.

Aware of the need to harmonise aspects of operations that can differ throughout the bus industry, many of the objectives set out in the NBS can be achieved using Passenger Premium or myTrip products.

“We want passengers to be able to plan, buy and show tickets on their smartphone for any journey, including through-trips on buses and other transport modes” 

National Bus Strategy

“We already integrate seamless local ticketing between operators, multi-operator ticketing and can support introductory promotional offers to attract new users through our Discounts function”.

Seeing our environment improve following the reduction of cars on the roads during lockdowns, myTrip – the UK’s first multi-operator ticketing app – was launched in September 2020 to support operators otherwise unable to take the first step on their digital journey. myTrip was designed to give users the confidence to continue using buses and brought affordable live bus tracking and mobile ticketing to operators.

Celebrated in the NBS were operators who modernise the passenger experience, which is exactly what Passenger will continue to do as the industry strides forward. 

“Apps and websites that include times, accessibility information, fares and live running” 

National Bus Strategy

“I’m so excited to see a bit of oomph and ambition in the strategy. The knowledge and insights of operators will be a powerful tool in delivering its outcomes and Passenger will continue to deliver industry-leading technology solutions and advocating for positive industry change” Tom Quay explains. 

By changing and reforming the systems we are restrained by, operators and suppliers can work together to craft a future with safer streets, cleaner air, better societal equality and smarter allocation of shared resources. 

Now is the time to reflect on the learnings that have been made over the past year, remove disparity and strengthen bus operations. There is a huge amount of work ahead to stop a car-led post-pandemic return to travel, but when operators and suppliers work together, the strength of that collective knowledge is a force to be reckoned with.

Want to know more about Passenger Premium? Contact [email protected]. If you are interested in myTrip, Passenger’s app for smaller operators, watch Sarah’s presentation ‘How smaller operators can achieve the aims set forth in the National Bus Strategy’ below (Sarah starts at 35mins).

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