Millennial passions ride high on Britain’s public transport network

Even in an age of smartphone dating apps, there’s nothing quite like catching the eye of a stranger across a sea of faces on a crowded bus or train.

The nation’s public transport is proving a shock hotspot for millennial romances, with a third of under-35s using their journeys to flirt with fellow passengers.

  • A third of passengers aged under-35 have flirted with a stranger on public transport
  • One in ten UK adults have dated somebody they’ve met on a bus, train or tram
  • Go-Ahead offers Valentine’s travellers two tickets for the price of one to celebrate the romance of Britain’s buses

A poll commissioned by transport provider Go-Ahead has found that one in five British adults (19%) having attempted to charm a fellow passenger while on public transport.

However, the proportion is dramatically higher among younger people: 33% of those under 35 have exchanged flirtations on the move.

In findings reminiscent of the classic film “Brief Encounter”, almost a quarter of under 35s (23%) have gone further by actually dating someone they first met on public transport, compared to just 11% of the wider population.

Go-Ahead customer director Katy Taylor said: “Transport occupies a very special place in our culture – it’s been associated with romance for many a long year. It’s no surprise that Brief Encounter, one of the most heart-warming films of all time, is about two people who meet at a railway station. Then there’s Sliding Doors, about a split-second that changes lives on the tubes, and Casablanca’s final scene, set at an airport.

“We’re delighted to hear that so many passengers are forging life-enhancing connections on our buses and trains. And we’re happy to celebrate that by inviting couples who’ve been out on a date on Valentines’ night to have a ticket home on us this year.

“You might have thought that in this digital age of online dating and smartphone swiping, the chance romantic meeting is no more. But these findings show that young people are even more alert than their parents and grandparents to the twinkle of an eye across the aisle.”

Taking in all age groups, passengers are most likely to get their flirt on in the South East (23%) and in Scotland (22%), while those travelling through the North of England are the least likely to express their amorous intentions (17%).

More mature passengers, too, are far from immune to romance: a tenth of pensioners say they’ve flirted on public transport.

To mark the findings, Go-Ahead is offering passengers two-for-one travel on regional bus services on Valentines’ night to help their customers enjoy a romantic night out.

Case study

In 2013, Morebus passengers Alan, aged 55, and Leslie, aged 62, finally wed, two years after meeting while waiting for the number 15 bus outside of Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

After getting to know each other on regularly shared journeys, the pair shared coffees and a ride on a local merry-go-round at Christmas.

“It goes to show, there really is a chance to find love on the buses,” Leslie said. “We have Morebus to thank for our chance meeting - and I can’t think of a better place to celebrate Valentine’s Day!”