I am indebted to the man that is the one and only Phil Tonks, stalwart of the Bus Industry who has written what I thought was an excellent blog about the perceived lack of technology in the UK Bus industry. As ever it is a measured intelligent collection of observations from a man who I hold in the highest regard. He is and has been for many years a champion of the bus industry. Who tells it warts and all, even where required admonishing bus operators where required.
I recall about 8 years ago taking Phil over to Dublin to watch what was then the first version of Coach Tracker with Dublin bus. Back then the technology was transformational but today as Phil points out it is more or less the norm. Which begs an interesting question has the bus industry really embraced technology at the speed that we might have hoped for. From my point of view, the answer is partly, some have and some have not, from my perspective the technology and speed of innovation have been revolutionary, reflecting also maybe the changing age profile of the industry over the last ten years as a younger social media savvy manager has embraced all options of technology from improving the business to making the customer experience better.
Phil rightly drew attention to the findings of Transport Focus report relating to the views of young people, where confidence, and having a friendly driver while understanding the fares structures. Clearly apps have helped simplify some of the fears that using the bus can bring, pre purchasing tickets and being able to download timetables as well as keeping real time tracking to watch your bus have become the norm. But there are some more basic needs that customers require such as reassuring, helpful and friendly drivers, that does not require technology, that is just basic goodness, from one person to another.
So, hats off yet again to Phil I have known him for well over 20 years, and he has always been consistent in championing the bus and the bus industry. A man who lives for the industry and as well as being very a informed critic and supporter he has earned the respect of the people who serve the industry, which he rightly deserves, a good bloke all round.and off the record not a bad DJ and radio presenter.