Working in partnership with London TravelWatch

Passenger Voice July 2015: Bus driver training – what works best?

06 July 2015

What makes customer service great for bus passengers? Our latest report has found that keeping passengers happy isn’t just the bus driver’s job but requires everyone at the bus company to be involved.

We recognise that bus drivers have an important and difficult job. They are responsible for careful and safe driving while also providing information about fares and delays to passengers.

Our research makes a number of recommendations for customer service training for bus drivers. Training in particular, needs to give drivers the skills and confidence needed to help passengers, while managers need to ensure that there is ongoing support and engagement.

Our latest Bus Passenger Survey found that the helpfulness and attitude of bus drivers varied between 62 and 91 per cent. This means that the majority of passengers in England get good customer service from the bus driver; however, there is still room for improvement.

Jocelyn Pearson, Transport Focus issues manager, said:

“Good customer service is key to improving passenger trust and can encourage more journeys by bus. The bus industry is making a real effort to improve the training it gives its drivers, so the work we have carried out should help to build on these efforts.”   

Bus Driver Training – What works? What next? also found that:

  • Good customer service makes a big difference to passengers, while poor service does not go unnoticed.
  • Many excellent examples of training incorporate principles of successful adult learning programmes. For example, encouraging trainees to consider relatives and friends who experience difficulties in accessing buses, appears to help trainees view accessibility in a real-life context.
  • There could be benefits to developing industry-wide guidelines on best practice. Companies will want to retain some flexibility, but key elements of training are already emerging across the bus industry.

The full report can be found here.

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