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Transport User Voice – November 2021 – Director’s editorial

29 October 2021

Transport in the news

Well, what a month it has been! Where to start…

It’s my pleasure to share the news that our insight team has been shortlisted for the In-house Team of the Year at the Market Research Society Awards 2021.

Our entry – Getting back on track – adapting insight to support the transport industry during a pandemic, showcased our response to the challenges of the Covid-19 lockdown when our traditional face-to-face insight work ground to a halt.

At the same time, the transport industry and Government needed information to help them urgently adapt to the crisis and plan for recovery. Our team found a way to understand experiences throughout the pandemic by creating new research models and ways to maintain our insight work among transport users.

Much of the resulting feedback can be seen on the coronavirus insight page of our website. The work our team has produced has influenced the decisions taken by governments, transport operators and authorities to deliver trusted and reliable services for key workers and to help build confidence for those who want to return to using public transport.

As a senior figure in the transport world told me only this week “our work during the pandemic has been like gold dust to the sector”. Great praise indeed!

The winners will be announced on 6 December, so we’ll keep you posted.

In other news, our new Bus and Rail Weekly Surveys have begun, which look at how passengers feel in terms of satisfaction towards their transport services. It’s interesting to see once again how traditional key priorities for passengers such as punctuality and value for money rate alongside feelings for Covid safety.

On that note, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the situation as Southeastern services are taken over by Government. We know from our research that passengers don’t mind who’s running services – so long as they meet their needs. That means reliable and punctual services with good value for money are vital.

We’re also continuing our work to help operators and local authorities with their Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs). Several authorities have asked us to comment on drafts of their (BSIPs) and have been keen to receive our insight. We are pleased to have seen drafts from several of the authorities that cover significant numbers of bus passengers and journeys including Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, the North East, and the West Midlands.

Of course, we were pleased with the Budget and Spending Review announcement. It’s great to see that England’s public transport infrastructure will be getting a £6.9 billion boost. Investing in a range of local transport and active travel connections across England’s big city regions is sensible and addresses current passenger priorities identified by our research.

Finally, we’re looking forward to the outcomes of COP26 in Glasgow. We’ve already seen some initiatives on transport such as free bus days which we’ll be supporting.

As our recent sustainability report showed, people are confused about how they can act on green or sustainability issues generally so we hope this will go some way to helping clear that up. Our chief executive, Anthony Smith, discussed green issues in his latest blog on last-mile deliveries – take a look here.

All in all, it’s looking quite positive – long may it last!

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