Passenger satisfaction improved on local buses

An independent survey has shown a rise in passenger satisfaction by bus users in the West Midlands.

Figures released by transport watchdog Passenger Focus say 88 per cent of people spoken to over Spring 2014 were ‘satisfied’ by services in the region, a four per cent rise on the same time last year. Other key findings include increased satisfaction with waiting times (80 per cent, up by three per cent), information at bus stops (77 per cent, up by four per cent) while 77 per cent were happy with the cleanliness and condition on board the bus (up by nine per cent).

Cllr Kath Hartley, vice chair of Centro, said the improved results were a triumph for Partnership Plus, a groundbreaking agreement between Centro and bus operator National Express West Midlands (NXWM), which operates 75 per cent of local services. Signed in 2013, it is a two year agreement that will see a range of passenger benefits introduced by both parties to the bus network, including new buses, improved information, cleaning, ticketing and easy to understand networks.

The findings will be discussed by Centro and NXWM at the next meeting of the Putting Passengers First committee on September 15, which is chaired by Cllr Hartley She said: “The Spring Wave 2014 Bus Satisfaction Survey shows that the hard work undertaken by ourselves and National Express West Midlands under Partnership Plus is having an effect. I am delighted that passengers have voiced their satisfaction. While there is always room for improvement these findings show we are heading in the right direction.”

The Spring Wave is based up 2,000 respondents who represent the typical bus user market in the West Midlands. This year’s survey indicates a 4% increase in overall satisfaction with the bus journey (up from 84% to 88%).
Other findings were:
Personal security at stop (79%) and on bus (81%) were improved (both attributes attained a 73% satisfaction score in Spring 2013)
80% were satisfied with the bus stop overall (78% Spring 2013).
80% were satisfied with the length of time they waited before their bus arrived (compared with just 73% in 2013).
76% were satisfied with the amount of information available at stop – an increase on the 73% reported a year ago.
There were significant improvements reported in terms of the driver’s appearance (87% satisfied 2014 v 84% 2013), their greeting/welcome (65% satisfied 2014 v 52% 2013) and their helpfulness/attitude (67% 2014 v 59% 2013).

Peter Coates, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said the improvements showed Partnership Plus was delivering real results. “Earlier this year West Midlands buses were named as the country’s most improved so to see a further increase in customer satisfaction is great,” he said. “However these results are not the end of the road for bus improvements in the West Midlands, they just prove we are on the right track. Over the next 12 months we will be investing in hundreds of new buses, expanding our successful mid-route cleaning programme and building on our successful Safer Travel Partnership.”

are most important to them and the real value of this work is its ability to drive change for passengers through being able to benchmark and compare services over time.”