How to get more, happier bus passengers? Catch the debate at Bus Summit 2019!

Anthony Smith, Chief Executive, Transport Focus: How to get more, happier bus passengers? Catch the debate at Bus Summit 2019!

Next month's UK Bus Summit is the premier bus event covering all parts of the UK. Held right at the heart of Westminster to elevate the importance of bus at the centre of local and national decision making, the event allows the opportunity to compare and contrast bus policy throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This year the focus will be on 'The Future of Mobility', why we need a long term bus investment strategy, air quality and, also how to get passengers on board buses.

Anthony Smith will lead our session focused on bus passengers. 

To hear more about the above, book your place now to attend on the 6th February.

The Transport Focus national Bus Passenger Survey 2018 will be published in March and will include results for Scotland. It's expected to show broadly good levels of satisfaction (with some very good!) but it's a survey of those who are using the bus.... or who have a bus to use.

We all know the bus network has contracted and bus ridership is under pressure in some parts of the country – congestion, among other factors, is slowing pushing more passengers into making different decisions about how they get around or travel at all.

However, it is not all gloom. There are some really great examples of investment, great bus services and really passenger focused initiatives from around the country. Yet local authorities and the bus industry seem institutionally incapable of getting the message out about these successes.

Basic facts about the industry (that you would expect I could have at my fingertips) are hard to come by: accessible buses, fleet age, levels of contactless use, investment levels and other key statistics are buried. Maybe competition works against the industry here, but the time has long come to get the good messages out!

This lack of information also flows into the consumer sphere. Transport Focus' research work on young people and buses showed this in spades – lack of information about services and fares was identified as a barrier to use.

Transport Focus is taking the findings from this work around Great Britain in a series of workshops over the next few months.

So, I am really pleased to be chairing a session at the forthcoming Bus Summit on February 6. This will be looking at how to remove the barriers to getting more passengers on the bus. There is a great panel: Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair Merseytravel; Giles Fearnley, MD Bus FirstGroup; Pete Ferguson, CEO Prospective and Pete Bond, Director of Integrated Network Services, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) / West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

Come and take part in this important debate!

Anthony Smith is Chief Executive of Transport Focus