Transport User Voice – December 2016 – Bus Services Bill: 10 actions to benefit passengers

29 November 2016

Will the Bus Services Bill deliver the best deal for passengers?

On the basis of our research on bus passengers’ views, we have identified ten points that should be considered to improve the bus journey experience.

Following its passage through the House of Lords the Bill is due to start its scrutiny by MPs soon. While it is possible that some of the changes made in the Lords will be overturned, the Bill is likely to facilitate bus operators and transport authorities’ engagement in different types of agreements, alliances and partnerships. If these are to improve the passenger experience, then these agreements must focus on what passengers want.

The factor which tops our ten points is punctuality. We know that passenger satisfaction on this deteriorates markedly after waiting five minutes, and then again after 10 minutes. So such agreements should include, for example, targets on punctuality and average journey speeds. Performance should be monitored and published so that passengers can see how well their company is doing.

We also believe that bus passenger satisfaction generally and on specific factors – on the bus and at the stop – should be measured regularly. Our own Bus Passenger Survey provides such an independent assessment which can help partnerships tackle problems identified, providing benchmarks over time and against competitors. The West Midlands Bus Alliance, uses the results to drive improvements, as will the recently launched Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance. But targets for service quality should be integral to any agreement.

The Bus Services Bill should also provide an effective complaints system for when things go wrong. It should be made easy for passengers to know to whom and how they should complain and clear guidance for when compensation will be offered.

These new agreements in the Bill provide the tools to make the passenger experience better and encourage new customers. Many peers in the Lords could see that it was important that passengers are at the heart of the resulting legislation and guidance. We hope that MPs feel the same way.

Click here to read our top ten actions.

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