Bus driver training – what works best?

03 July 2015

Providing good customer service to passengers is the job of everyone at the bus company, not just drivers.

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.

Training needs to give drivers the skills and confidence required to assist passengers, while managers need to ensure that there is ongoing support and engagement.

These are among the recommendations of work carried out by the independent watchdog, Transport Focus, about customer service training for bus drivers.

Transport Focus’s latest Bus Passenger Survey, published in March 2015, 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. Too many passengers are still getting a patchy service.

Jocelyn Pearson, a 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.”  

This work, 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, appear 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. 

Click the link Bus driver training What works? What next? download the report of this work.

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