Loneliness is one of the UK’s biggest public health challenges, with research indicating that 3 in 10 Britons go one day a week without speaking to anyone close to them.
Go-Ahead want to change this. This is why we launched “chatty” bus services in 2019 across our bus companies.
Sometimes called “the original social network”, two-thirds of bus users believe that the bus creates strong community ties. One in three people deliberately catch buses to have some human contact. The chatty bus scheme was launched in response to the government’s loneliness strategy. The initiative has seen operating companies promote the bus as a social space to encourage bus passengers to talk to the people around them.
Our bus operating companies in Brighton, Hull, Horsham, Newcastle, Plymouth, Oxford and Eastleigh took part in the initial launch event in January 2019. On some services, chatty bus ambassadors came on board to distribute ‘happy to chat’ badges to interested passengers, whilst on others, a piano was brought on board the bus to encourage a sing song. The bus companies have gone on to mould and shape the chatty bus initiative to their regions – focussing on local peoples’ needs and wants.
With loneliness affecting every generation, we believe in the importance of the bus as a social space and a community hub. We have also signed the Government’s Employers Pledge, which commits businesses to tackling loneliness at all levels.