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 bus companies tackle loneliness across the UK with the 'chatty bus' scheme - a unique initiative to help both passengers and colleagues.
The chatty bus scheme was launched in response to the government’s loneliness strategy in January 2019, and since then our operating companies have been shaping and moulding the initiative to suit the passengers in their communities.
Each bus operator has taken the ‘chatty bus’ initiative and branding and shaped it to suit the local needs of their communities. East Yorkshire has a network of ‘chatty champions’ who go onto buses on set dates to create conversations with people on the buses and create a community spirit.
Go South Coast has placed buses in town centres and had ‘conversation starter’ pieces – such as a piano and a joint venture with guide dogs – to encourage people in the town centre to come over and have a conversation with its chatty bus ambassadors.
Go East Anglia has been leading the campaign. Over the last two years its subsidiary company Konectbus has focused on universities – with more than 50% of students feeling lonely or isolated at some point while studying.
The bus company plans to hold regular events at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich campus to help students realise the importance of opening up – especially about their mental health.
We have chosen five of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals as our areas of focus. Our chatty bus initiative shows our commitment to Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being). We aim to tackle loneliness through buses, which connect people across towns and cities.