All told, 6000 people who have travelled by tourist coach or long-distance bus in Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, France and Sweden were interviewed for their opinions on what it takes to make a bus trip a positive experience.
“Together with our customers we work constantly to make bus travel as appealing and competitive as possible. In this perspective, passenger viewpoints are immensely important. Through our surveys we see that most of the passenger viewpoints are pretty similar in all the countries, but there are also some things that set them apart,” says Niklas Orre, VP Strategy and Product Management at Volvo Buses.
Wi-fi, safety and comfortable seats are important
So, what do people most like doing while on board? Sleeping, chatting, watching films and reading are popular. It’s therefore hardly a surprise that comfortable seats and plenty of legroom are among the most important conditions for a good journey. The list of services that passengers want is topped by a fast wi-fi link. This is something for which many passengers, above all younger ones, are prepared to pay extra. Most feel it is important to be able to buy something to drink or eat on board. A few even want the option of splashing out and ordering a three-course dinner. Safety consistently receives a high rating. 47 per cent of passengers want information about the bus’s safety before they book their tickets, and 66 per cent use the bus’s seat belts. Seat belt usage is highest in Sweden, France and Spain.
Top 3 tips to get on with other passengers
The survey also reveals a lot of information for those who want to get on with their fellow passengers. Top of the list is not making noise. Noisy passengers are consistently felt to be the most annoying problem on a bus trip, according to a huge 79 per cent of respondents.
Tip number two: don’t push your knees into the backrest of the seat in front. Few things are perceived as more irritating than having the knees of the passenger behind you digging into your back (71 per cent). Strong-smelling food is not appreciated (50 per cent), although here Italian passengers show remarkably high tolerance (25 per cent). Swedish passengers appear to have fewer problems with passengers taking off their shoes – something that is seldom regarded as acceptable on the continent.
“All told, we can say that comfort, safety and pleasant fellow passengers are significant factors for anyone travelling far by bus. So yes to wi-fi and comfortable seats, but no to sharp knees and bare feet,” says Niklas Orre.
Facts about the Volvo Buses passenger survey