Working in partnership with London TravelWatch

Standing at bus stop in the rain…

10 November 2015

Quite helpful to be reminded about the experience of bus travel for some users…. standing at a bus stop in the rain with no shelter, and no live information, makes you feel very out of control and a bit vulnerable.

My colleague Guy and I were off visit Connect Plus, the private consortium that runs the M25 on a 30-year contract to Highways England. Guy had worked out we could get a bus from Potters Bar station – the 398.

We wanted to get the 10.29 bus, but we oddly found out that it wasn’t on the live-running information at the station. However, the bus turned up a few minutes later. It was good value for money as I as had already bought a  PlusBus ticket for £2.10 (all day travel!) and Guy’s return was £2.60. The bus was basic, but okay overall, although the driver couldn’t give change for a £20 note! What would have happened if I hadn’t had a fiver?

South Mimms service station and the surrounding area is certainly not designed for pedestrians. The picture below shows Guy standing at the muddy bus stop we got off at.

The bus back was frustrating. No live information or live app to look at. Luckily we had the number of the bus company, Sullivans, because it was on Guy’s ticket. It told us that the bus was running 15 minutes late (exactly right as it turned out! – so they knew where the bus was).  Otherwise, assuming you had a phone, ringing Traveline would have been the only option. Not sure what would have happened if we had tried that.

Getting universal real-time information was a key finding of our earlier research: https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/research/publications/bus-punctuality-and-timetables-summary-report

This experience confirmed how important it is for the bus industry to tackle this – forcing customers to stare up the road wondering can’t be good for business.

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