Transport User Voice – May 2022 – Chief executive’s editorial

28 April 2022

Choppy waters ahead

The extra funding for buses in England’s regions is welcome and will support the return of bus passengers. However, we have been looking at the decline in the use of concessionary bus passes. With the help of our online Transport User Panel, we have been probing the reasons why use has fallen. Is it due to Covid concerns or have behaviours changed more generally? The results should be out in the next few weeks. 

The sight of trucks once again snaking back along the M20 as they wait to cross the Channel was unwelcome. While it might make operational sense to have a queue that slowly rolls forward, it must make for a miserable experience for drivers. Not to mention local people are also caught up in knock-on delays.  

Providing food, drink, rest and toilet facilities to a live lane of traffic just isn’t possible. We have been talking to National Highways and others about the relatively good information provision and queue monitoring but poor facilities.  

The rising numbers of rail passengers (fuelled by the excellent Great British Rail Sale, which we long called for) want one thing more than anything else: a reliable service. So, the recent strike ballots are extremely disappointing. After so much disruption the rail network needs a period of stability to rebuild confidence. Let’s hope both sides can keep talking to avoid passengers bearing the brunt of these problems. 

We have been learning more about electric cars. We visited the excellent (but soon to close) EV Experience Centre in Milton Keynes. We hired a car and drove to Gridserve’s Electric Forecourt in Braintree – a state of the art recharging centre and rest stop. The drive was quiet and smooth with great acceleration and braking.  

As the infrastructure grows, it does seem chances are being missed to make recharging more accessible. There are a lot of disabled motorists out there! 

Overall, though, once the cost of using an electric car begins to drop more and general concerns around things like range and charging points are overcome, you can see they are going to be very popular. 


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