Transport User Voice – June 2019 – Wales

28 May 2019

Speaking to local bus company managers at their Cardiff conference  

Overall passenger satisfaction with bus services is generally good – particularly with smaller independent and municipal operators. This was a key point that chief executive Anthony Smith made when he spoke to the Association of Local Bus Company Managers (ALBUM) conference on 9 May, at the event hosted by Cardiff Bus at Cardiff City Hall.

Anthony’s main points were: 

  • The latest Bus Passenger Survey results show overall satisfaction of between 84 and 92 per cent for the five national operators, but this rises to between 93 and 95 per cent for the top five independents. However, more emphasis is needed on value for money and working together on punctuality. 
  • Passengers recognise the availability of newer features on bus services; they particularly appreciate free Wi-Fi and USB charging points, but also notice leather seats 
  • In-journey information is reassuring for passengers and results show that audio-visual facilities provide a huge improvement, lifting satisfaction levels by up to 20 per cent 
  • Congestion is the number one cause of slower journeys and is causing strain during the afternoon peak in particular. This can only be addressed by operators and local authorities working in collaboration. Transport Focus is already closely engaged with a number of regional Bus Alliances, which are leading on efforts to tackle these issues.  
  • The role of the bus driver is crucial in transforming passengers’ experience from plain okay, to having a great journey. More emphasis is needed on delivering customer service skills consistently across the workforce.  
  • Young people face particular barriers – not feeling that services are designed for them and not knowing how the system works (or what to do about that) are sources of genuine anxiety. Improving the journey experience is important.  Recent workshops run by Transport Focus provoked some excellent sharing of ground-breaking work that was published on 17 May (see elsewhere in this issue of Transport User Voice). 

For further details, see the presentation slides Getting more and happier passengers on your service on the Transport Focus website.

Also read about Anthony’s experience of catching the bus in Cardiff Bay.

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