As consumers we expect a high level of service from transport providers, be it a seat on a train, a punctual bus journey or accurate information at a tram stop. We demand good value for money and expect top notch safety to be a given on whichever mode of transport we choose to take.
What are the expectations the other way though? What demands are put on the transport user from those same providers?
Well, the obvious things spring to mind – like ensuring that we’ve bought a valid ticket and that our behaviour to staff and other passengers is polite and not antisocial. What about safety? As passengers we need to heed the warnings from transport providers to ‘mind the gap’ and to ensure that we take our belongings with us when leaving the bus, tram or train.
Driving on motorways and major ‘A’ roads demands a much higher level of expectation from Highways England which operates these roads and indeed the other road users around them. After all, driving vehicles up to 70mph needs skill, care and concentration. It needs drivers to share the road space considerately with users, to ensure that everyone gets home safely.
Vehicles are important too. Keeping them well maintained and carrying out essential checks before long journeys plays an important role in keeping things safe – and moving for everyone.
Interesting then to hear the Highways England and Think! road safety social media and radio campaign recently on this subject. It cleverly shows that there shouldn’t be any difference between passengers’ expectations on public transport to those who drive their own vehicles. We expect trains, trams and buses to be maintained to the highest standards with appropriate safety checks to be carried out before every journey. However, there can be a different reality for those driving cars, vans, HGV’s and those riding motorbikes.
The concerning statistics about those who break down by running out of fuel, or tyres blown out with lack of checks and maintenance is still too high. Preventable issues with vehicles should be given much higher attention, as this can affect all road users, from long delays to serious incidents that compromise safety.
As the transport user watchdog we will continue to keep the pressure on transport providers to stick to their end of the bargain and provide what passengers and road users want. Where passengers and road users in turn can help to make journeys smoother and safer, we support and encourage more being done in this area also.