is this why bus and train companies get so much stick?

Wherever you look on social media, it seems all bus and trains companies get is criticism - no matter how positive the message they are trying to get out.

Now, thanks to an article I've just read by Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK, I have better understanding as to why that may be.

According to Rory, the very option of choice generally makes us like something more. So shoes, houses, cars, supermarkets etc the thinking can be applied to near enough everything. This leaves the the likes of public services and monopolies under appreciated even when they do a good job objectively - simply because it's harder to like something when you have no choice in it.

It is this sort of resentment that leads to people who will happily pay £200 for a pair of shoes getting miffed at paying their electricity bill or council tax - it's the principle that they don't have a choice in paying, rather than how much they're paying.

And the more I think about it, the more Rory's words made sense in relation to public transport. Obviously, some people are choosing the bus per se over another form of transport but most of the time they have no choice of operator - it's the bus with company X or no bus at all. Likewise with train travel, where competition (and thereby choice) is equally as sparse.

If you don't like the place where you currently buy something, you can choose to take your business elsewhere. If you don't have that choice, you moan. A lot. Makes sense when you think about it.

You can follow Rory on Twitter here.

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