A different type of timetable issue?

21 June 2018

Timetable changes, cuts to services, delays and cancellations…. not another blog about the ‘rail chaos’, I hear you say? Well, actually, no. Welcome to the world of the bus passenger!

Perhaps I exaggerate a little to prove the point, but if you’re a rural bus passenger then you’re likely to have seen your services cut, while if you’re an urban bus passenger you’ll be familiar with delays, cancellations, and the resulting impact upon the reliability of your bus services, caused by congestion and roadworks. And timetables are updated on a regular basis, often just ahead of the new school year in September.

But do we hear cries of ‘bus chaos’ or ‘buses in crisis’, leading to a statement in the House, or a special meeting of the Cabinet? No, we don’t. Perhaps it’s because the larger media channels don’t seem to have an interest in buses (although local press does pick up on it), or because bus passengers as a whole are a lot less vocal than rail passengers.

I wonder what proportion of MPs and people working in the large media organisations take the bus regularly, and how this compares to their use of trains? For the public as a whole, buses are the primary mode of public transport, accounting for over twice the number of trips per person as rail.

At Transport Focus, it’s our role to stand up for passengers, whether they are using a train, bus, coach or even a tram. They all deserve to receive a good service, and lately focus, ours included, has very much been on the rail passenger. But let’s not forget all those people standing at a bus stop this evening, wondering why their bus hasn’t turned up on time. If they’re really unlucky, they may have been delayed on a train journey and missed the last bus from the station, as evening services have been cut!

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