Transport User Voice – September 2021 – Director’s editorial

27 August 2021

Getting back on board

This month we’ve been continuing to work with local transport authorities across England with the development of Bus Service Improvement Plans and enhanced partnerships. These partnerships will provide the structure for Government funding, through the National Bus Strategy, to shape the future of local bus services from April 2022.

Our work has focused on ensuring the voice and the priorities of bus passengers are featured during this vital planning stage. We have spoken to around 80 per cent of all the local authorities in England, outside of London. We’ve set out what we know from our research to be the key factors that matter most to current bus users and that which will help encourage people to use bus services more in future.

We have also published three guidance documents to support this activity. These are already helping authorities and operators adopt sound principles across important areas of work.

To help spread the reach of our National Bus Strategy work we held two virtual briefing sessions. We have our third briefing session scheduled for early September. More information can be found here. It would be great if you could join us!

Away from bus, it was good to see the Rail Delivery Group launch the national marketing campaign ‘Let’s get back on track’. With more of us returning to rail this summer it is important that operators and Network Rail keep up the positive activities that we know passengers have valued during the pandemic. This includes the visibility of cleaning, consistent and clear advice about the wearing of face coverings and information that helps people know when services are busier.

Transport Focus welcomed Government’s announcement that it is considering a range of options for rail fares for next year following the announcement of the July retail price index figure. This figure is usually linked to the annual fare increase. After an extraordinary year, it’s important to consider what would help more of us to get back to rail travel.

Finally, from me, it was also good to see that National Highways (formerly Highways England) have appointed Nick Harris as its new chief executive. We look forward to working with Nick and his team to make sure the needs and priorities of road users are clearly understood and acted upon. Our new work on road user priorities will form a great basis for these discussions!


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