Blackpool Transport: outstanding use of feedback to drive change

27 August 2019

After my comments last week about the power of the bus passenger survey it’s logical to ask how does knowing what passengers think translate into real improvements to their journeys? Blackpool Transport provides an outstanding case study:

Every year Transport Focus speaks to almost 50,000 passengers in England and Scotland, with the Bus Passenger Survey (BPS), to produce a picture of satisfaction with bus travel. On the whole passengers are pretty happy – around nine out of ten are satisfied with their most recent journey. But beneath that headline figure the survey provides a wealth of data that is used by the industry to improve services.

Transport Focus will meet and talk through the latest results with many bus companies and authorities who then set out proposed action plans. The meeting with Blackpool Transport was different. They wanted a fresh understanding of their passengers’ experience, so took their results over four years. As well as looking at overall satisfaction, they analysed each aspect of the journey in terms of the change in the satisfaction categories. Details emerged of shifts between ‘fairly’ and ‘very’ satisfied and in dissatisfaction, highlighting passengers’ reactions to service delivery over time. A narrative against each topic told the story, leading to ‘red-amber-green’ status that was summarised across the results, informing these discussions.

The spotlight for Blackpool Transport is now on value for money and their July Board meeting particularly explored fares for young people. The graphs showed how passengers under 35 years old had falling satisfaction levels with value for money, but those over 35 had a growing level of satisfaction. This has been used to design their 2020 fares, product and marketing strategy. Finance and Commercial Director, James Carney, said; ‘this approach has turned data into knowledge and led to active consideration of our options and plans for improvement’.

The team there had really crawled all over the BPS results and set out exactly what they had learned over the years and what they are going to do about it: Look at the Blackpool Transport BPS Report 2018 to examine the detail.

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