Transport User Voice – Are alliances set to transform transport?
28 March 2017
The launch of the latest Bus Passenger Survey in Liverpool was very positive. The news that satisfaction has generally held up around the country was marred by the increasing effect of congestion on satisfaction with punctuality and reliability: a trend local authorities and bus operators need to watch carefully.
However, the use of the survey as a key measure in the work of the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance is great to see – passenger satisfaction driving and uniting all parties. The Alliance has made some impressive progress on fixed fare low price tickets for younger passengers, boosted fare pay passenger numbers and joint marketing. There is still more to come but good evidence of what closer partnership working – which might be one of the most positive aspects of the Buses Services Act – can achieve.
We now work with three alliances. We chair the West Midlands Bus Alliance and take part in the West Yorkshire Bus 18’ initiative. We are also starting to work with the Bristol Congestion Task Group. Great to have the passenger voice at the heart of decision making.
Turning to rail the award of the south western franchise to First Group and MTR underpins some impressive investment. Our work for the Department for Transport and bidders during the franchise replacement process flagged up key passenger priorities: a more reliable service, better information during disruption and more and longer trains. We will work closely with the current and new franchisee on the August Waterloo works and other improvements. The upgrade will be welcome change but the resulting disruption must be kept to a minimum.
Interesting to see how the commitment in the franchise to get the train operator and Network Rail to work more closely together will work out. Meanwhile, the first meeting of the new Greater Western Route Supervisory Board has taken place. Transport Focus, Network Rail, Heathrow Express and Great Western are all coming together with an independent chair. It’s very important to have the passenger voice at the centre of these new arrangements.
Big step with our work for road users: we’ve have just published work with the Office of Rail and Road on what factors road users would like to see measured and reported on in the next Road Investment Strategy: a first. Journey time is the key factor. Do we now need a roads timetable? We all set the road journey timetable in our minds but perhaps a more explicit promise should be thought about?