Alex was right about older people - sell and they will come

A couple of weeks ago, Alex Warner wrote an excellent piece in Passenger Transport where he looked at how bus operators target/treat/attract older passengers.

More accurately, he questioned why a market so potentially lucrative for the industry isn't actively sold to with more gusto and thought. 

It's a customer base that has the time to travel - sweeping generalisation but I'd bet a tenner it's true - and has no sensitivity to price. After all, if you're of state pension age you can get anywhere on your local bus service for the grand total of sweet fanny adams.

But because they don't pay with hard-earned cash and have certain caveats to their free travel times, it seems they're somewhat left to their own devices. 

The message operators seem happy to convey is more an apologetic 'If you've got nothing else to do or are at a loose end, fancy getting the bus? Don't worry if you can't make it though, we don't make that much money out of you anyway' as opposed to an enticing 'Here are all the great benefits of using your pass to travel for free by bus anywhere on our network. You'll absolutely love it, and yes, it's free!!!'

It needs to be far more than a few ads of smiley happy older folk (like in the picture above) with a catchy headline. Concessionary pass holders are a key revenue source for all bus companies and deserve to be sold to in the same way as any market. 

Don't take my word for it, Alex explains things far better here.