Transport User Voice – Keeping Bristol’s buses on the move

31 July 2017

Road congestion is strangling traffic in many major cities and having a direct impact on the speed of the average bus journey.

As we know from the focus of our 2016 Bus Passenger Survey, bus passenger satisfaction with punctuality and journey times has been falling for some years in cities such as Manchester and Leeds.

Bristol is not immune to congestion and traditionally has been a ‘bus punctuality hot spot’ for many years. Not least when the M4/M5 junction snarls up causing traffic to slow down right across the greater Bristol area.

Bristol’s Mayor, Marvin Rees, has recently announced a new Congestion Task Group, to provide a new focus and impetus for tackling traffic congestion across the city. Transport Focus has been invited to participate in this group, providing expertise and a focus on the transport user. The group will meet monthly in Bristol over a twelve month period to provide expert consideration and advice to the Mayor.

We have worked well over the last few years with the West of England Partnership through our Bus Passenger Survey programme. We also provided evidence on behalf of bus passengers to inquiries held by the local authority’s transport cabinet team. Our past work has helped us articulate what transport users want in Bristol.

The task force met for the first time in June. The meeting had a good sustainable focus and positive attitudes towards the role of the bus. We made the group aware of the evidence Transport Focus has, and that our main input would be focussing plans on the user and promoting short-term delivery plans to demonstrate improvements. Our other main point was the importance of communicating those plans to passengers. Both points were well received and generated positive debate.

We’ve made a great start in Bristol. This adds to our more established partnership work in the West Midlands and the Liverpool City Region. In addition, the newly formed ‘Bus 18’ bus partnership by West Yorkshire Combined Authority has invited us to help them better understand bus passenger satisfaction in the region.

You can find out more information about the Congestion Task Group here.

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