What is Chatty Bus?

what is chatty?

One in three people deliberately catch the bus to have some form of social interaction and two-thirds of bus users believe that the bus creates strong community ties.

The Origins of Chatty Bus, Norwich 

Chatty Bus was founded in collaboration with The Norwich Together Alliance to build a city full of connection. As loneliness had been highlighted as a growing issue in the city, we set out to tackle social isolation through the connections provided by bus travel so that residents could rely on the bus not just as a means of getting from A to B, but as a pillar of their community.

We launched our first Chatty Bus event on 6th March 2020, just before the first Covid-19 lockdown, with volunteers from Konectbus, Aviva and Age UK. These Chatty Bus Champions boarded a number of Konectbus routes from Castle Meadow in Norwich, chatting away to passengers as they travelled across our network to show how the bus can bring people together, create conversation and build friendships.

The Shoebox Community Hub, located on Castle Meadow, supported the event and was also on-hand offering tea and coffee to all those who got involved. Press coverage was also provided by the EDP - click here if you would like to read the article.

Lockdown meant that we had to postpone our Chatty Bus plans, but if anything, the pandemic intensified loneliness and isolation for everyone, not least elderly and vulnerable groups. With this in mind, we adapted our approach to provide the Virtual Chatty Bus in association with Age UK's Befriending Service to reach those in need of a friendly voice amid challenging circumstances.

 

Chatty Bus Relaunched!

When the lockdowns lifted and people's confidence in travelling by bus gradually started to return, relaunching our Chatty Bus events was all the more important, given that people had been confined to their homes for the best part of two years.

Once again, we collaborated with members of the Norwich Together alliance for the first outside event to share the wealth and breadth of well-being services available to the residents of Norwich.

We also had conversation walls where people could provide feedback about the local community and what they liked about Norwich - these proved to be very successful conversation-starters!

Image of a chatty Bus event at The Forum

Chatty Bus Events

Mental Health Event at the University of East Anglia - January 2022

Age UK Wroxham Broads Trip - September 2023

 

We then piloted our Chatty Bus discount card in Norwich, to support those who needed to use the services of one our wellbeing partners, with a discount on their bus fare. This was paused once the £2 fare was introduced but we plan to bring it back again in the near future. 

Chatty BUS discount Card