Working in partnership with London TravelWatch

Transport User Voice – January 2022 – A look back at 2021

16 December 2021

We are fast approaching the end of another unprecedented year. Though life has changed, we continue to work in the best interests of transport users.  

Here are some highlights of our work this year: 

Covid-19 

We kept up our Covid-19 tracker research throughout this year. It allowed us to provide a thorough and reliable source of intelligence to bus and rail operators, local authorities, and governments. It’s been well received by stakeholders too. 

We also improved the content quality of train and bus company websites through a series of audits. This ensured they were providing up-to-date, accurate information to those who needed to travel during Covid. 

In April, our report Will there be space onboard? helped improve information on how busy public transport would be before travelling. Our Travel During Covid-19 survey had highlighted how important people felt it was to have space onboard for social distancing. Improving safety information like this helps passengers feel confident before they travel. 

We also successfully argued for rail travel vouchers to be extended as many passengers had not been able to use them due to lockdown restrictions. 

Rail 

We have long argued for the creation of a flexible season ticket. Our research Frequency of commuting in future – Travel during Covid-19 looked at the changing patterns of commuters. This helped make the case for the new ticket, which was subsequently introduced in June. It is designed for those who commute two to three days a week. 

Our research Reservation-only services on LNER helped influence the return of the traditional ‘walk up railway’. This allowed those without a reservation to still travel if they turned up at the station.  

Accessibility 

We did a lot more work for disabled transport users this year. Our reports and webinar brought attention to the experiences and needs of disabled passengers, particularly during Covid. 

We continued to help support disabled road users, following the publication of our report back in 2018. Our latest report A more accessible road network? shows the progress made.  

Bus  

We understand that the bus is a vital lifeline for many. Passenger needs must be reflected in any future developments and improvements. It’s just as important to encourage non-users, in line with the Government’s push to promote the use of public transport as part of its decarbonisation plan. Therefore, we supported local transport authorities (LTAs) as they developed their Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs).   

We influenced LTAs across the country with 71 authorities attending our briefing sessions and all 77 authorities receiving our guidance documents. Feedback from LTAs has been positive and there are references to Transport Focus’ insight and guidance throughout the published BSIPs.

Our role in bus partnership boards enables us to provide real evidence about what bus users want from local decision making. We continue to be involved in boards, alongside local authorities and bus operators, across the country. These include West Yorkshire, Liverpool, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the West Midlands, the North East, Cornwall, and Norfolk. 

Road 

In February we launched our Sort My Sign campaign, asking road users to report any problem road signs they’ve seen. Clear information allows drivers to make good decisions with plenty of time, improves safety and reduces stress.  

We pass the information to National Highways to get them fixed. In August, National Highways told us it had fixed three out of five cases reported so far 

We wrote to National Highways in September, seeking further improvement.  

We’re committed to seeing safer roads for all. If you know of a sign that needs sorting, report it here 

In Road users’ priorities for improvementwe found the quality of road surfaces on England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads to be drivers’ top priority for improvement. We spoke to over 5600 drivers to understand their requirements for improvement. As National Highways prepares its longer-term plans we wanted to make sure road users’ views were included.  

The Government’s deadline for the end of petrol and diesel vehicles in 2030 isn’t far off. We looked at people’s views towards electric vehicles in Plugging the gap: drivers’ experiences with electric cars. Those who already use them were able to tell us what they liked about owning one – and what they didn’t. In Going electric: the drivers view we asked our Transport User Community about what’s stopping them from going electric. These valuable insights will help make using an EV easier for everyone in the future.  

It’s been a busy year. Bring on 2022.

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