How to get more, happier bus passengers? Catch the debate at UK Bus Summit 2019!
14 January 2019
The Transport Focus national Bus Passenger Survey 2018 will be published in March and will include results for Scotland. It's expected to show broadly good levels of satisfaction (with some very good!) but it's a survey of those who are using the bus... or who have a bus to use.
We all know the bus network has contracted and bus ridership is under pressure in some parts of the country – congestion, among other factors, is slowly pushing more passengers into making different decisions about how they get around or travel at all.
However, it is not all gloom. There are some really great examples of investment, great bus services and really passenger-focused initiatives from around the country. Yet local authorities and the bus industry seem institutionally incapable of getting the message out about these successes.
Basic facts about the industry (that you would expect I could have at my fingertips) are hard to come by: accessible buses, fleet age, levels of contactless use, investment levels and other key statistics are buried. Maybe competition works against the industry here, but the time has long come to get the good messages out!
This lack of information also flows into the consumer sphere. Transport Focus's research on young people and buses showed this in spades – lack of information about services and fares was identified as a barrier to use.
Transport Focus is taking the findings from this work around Great Britain in a series of workshops over the next few months.
So, I am really pleased to be chairing a session at the forthcoming UK Bus Summit on Wednesday 6 February. This will look at how to remove the barriers to getting more passengers on the bus. There is a great panel: councillor Liam Robinson, chair of Merseytravel; Giles Fearnley, managing director at Bus FirstGroup; Pete Ferguson, chief executive at Prospective and Pete Bond, director of integrated network services, Transport for West Midlands / West Midlands Combined Authority.
Come and take part in this important debate on 6 February at the UK Bus Summit!