Victoria Walker, Campaign Organiser at Bus Users UK, shares highlights from this Septemberâ€™s Catch the Bus Month 2023 and looks ahead to 2024
According to the latest figures from CPT, bus passenger numbers are only just now returning to pre-pandemic levels, a reflection of the huge challenges the bus industry has been facing in recent years.
To protect these vital services itâ€™s more important than ever to get more people on board and unlock the full social, environmental and economic benefits of the bus.
This is where Catch the Bus Month comes in, a month-long celebration of bus services in England, Scotland and Wales. 2023 saw huge support from the bus industry, local and central governments, charities, NGOs and community groups with events, promotions, giveaways and social media campaigns.
In Wales the team worked in close partnership with Welsh Government, TrawsCymru, operators and local councils running a packed programme of events that brought together local residents and transport providers to celebrate and improve services.
In Scotland we joined fresher events at universities in Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen, Stirling and Edinburgh to promote the benefits of free bus travel for the under 22s. We partnered with McGills, Xplore Dundee, Scottish Citylink and Stagecoach East Scotland to showcase everything the bus has to offer young people.
In England, the Somerset Bus Partnership came up trumps yet again attending over 20 events throughout the county and posting a stream of photos across social media. They also handed out printed timetables which, despite moves towards digital, remain in high demand.
Transport for West Midlands was active across the region, even producing their own Catch the Bus Month bunting in readiness for next year. And groups like Ticketer and Intuitive Recruitment shared their personal journeys and passion for all things bus.
Social media was awash with supportive posts and photos from industry partners including CPT, Campaign for Better Transport and Urban Transport Group, with local authorities, transport bodies and operators as well as members of Scottish, Welsh and UK Governments all firmly on board.
If anything, the campaign gathered momentum over the course of the month and our iconic red hands were everywhere â€“ and we mean everywhere! Just take a look at our Instagram page and catch up on this yearâ€™s campaign on the Catch the Bus Month website for ideas and inspiration for 2024!