Passenger Voice June 2016: Anthony Smith’s editorial

27 May 2016

On the buses? The Bus Services Bill has arrived

Big changes to the way the bus services in England and Wales might be structured, financed and run are now being debated by Parliament. Transport Focus does not generally take a view of the industry’s structures as we concentrate on the quality of the outputs.

In some ways what is more important is how any changes arising from the Act that will follow are implemented – these must be passenger focused and we will be saying more about those elements.

Meanwhile on the strategic road network our work on roadside facilities and information during disruption will soon be published. The Government’s welcome investment is going to require significant amounts of roadworks. Taking road users through those works in a well-informed, understanding way is going to be vital – the A14 upgrade recently announced is a big test bed in this respect.

Debate on the railways is now starting to focus on the next five year spending plan from 2019-2024. We are developing plans for how the user voice can be boosted in those discussions. We passengers now put in over £9 billion of fares every year into the railways – roughly three quarters of the daily running costs. While Government investment in big long-term projects is still crucial the passenger voice should be heard more loudly in future.

The publication this week of our latest Tram Passenger Survey again highlights how can now start to make some comparisons about the transport user experience across different modes of transport: road, rail, bus and tram. We can now do breakdowns on passenger attitudes in different cities such as Manchester. One thing comes across loud and clear across all the modes: everyone wants predictable journeys.

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