I am as ever deeply indebted to Anthony Smith, CEO of Transport Focus who this week published the results of the Bus Passenger survey. By far the biggest and best yet with 50,000 passengers across the length and breadth of England and Scotland, giving their verdict on the state of the British bus industry. And I have to say that the results were very good indeed, with a truly impressive 9 out of 10 passengers using buses were satisfied with their last journey.
Let me just repeat that last bit, a massive 9 out 10 passengers using buses were satisfied with their last journey. That is in my view a truly remarkable testimony to the industry, and I am struggling to to think of any other industries or sectors where such a high level of satisfaction would be achieved. It is remarkable given that overall the non bus using public tend to give a negative impression of the bus, that is completely at odds with what the bus passengers actually think.
Key headlines are worth noting firstly half of all interviewed admitted that the bus is the only option that they have. So, making sure that services are on time, reliable, and offers good value for money are significant requirements for passengers. And overall that is what most passengers have experienced day in, day out. A massive 4 billion journeys were made last year, and it is abundantly clear that passengers rely on a good bus service to get them to work, school, or to the shops, the three biggest single reasons what people use the bus.
The survey revealed some significant variations where Companies that demonstrate strong local decision making processes can and do, make a big difference to customer satisfaction. The combination of improved customer service, great customer service from hard working bus drivers , an elevated onboard experience via modern technologies coupled with customer focused fare deals for particular segments of customers is making a real difference.
Like every sector there are of course big differences between the good and the bad with variances between 81% down to 44%. No names no pack drill but the good are clearly really good and the poor performers need improvement, quite clearly. However, I take real heart from the key message that this survey has highlighted. Namely, there is a fantastic success story here, this Industry performs well above its weight and we really need to work together to shout this message from the rooftops. We really need to get behind this unique opportunity now more than ever before. This is a great industry with happy passengers we need to educate the outside world sooner rather than later.