‘Social benefit’ is defined in narrow terms as follows -
‘...the value bus users enjoy from accessing particular services that they would not otherwise have had easy access to’.
Further, the value arrived at only applies to travellers ‘who would choose to not make the trip if bus was not available,’ so again it’s rather limited. But it’s a start, and the significance of the study is clearly that it acknowledges that society has a place for a service that is ‘public’.
It doesn't have to be about measuring the value of a chummy chat about the weather with a complete stranger as you're bumping along. But it might be handy to work out a way of assessing the value of being among fellow citizens in the public realm - and the costs that might be associated with the absence of that experience in certain lifestyles - because that seems to be dangerously under-valued at present.
Previously: On the buses