A nationwide, independent survey has shown that around nine in 10 bus passengers in the West Midlands are happy with their service.
Figures released by transport watchdog Passenger Focus show that 87% of the region’s bus travellers were satisfied - a 1% increase on the same survey the previous year.
The Bus Passenger Survey, which questioned more than 47,000 people across the country, shows that of the 29 key indicators rated for satisfaction by West Midland passengers a total of 24 scored higher than in the previous year, with a further three remaining the same.
Key findings include a 76% satisfaction rating for punctuality (up 3%), an 89% score for ease of getting on and off the bus (up 2%) and 79% satisfaction with the time waiting for a bus (up 5%).
Cllr Kath Hartley, vice chair of Centro, the region’s public transport co-ordinator, said the improved results were a reflection of improvements brought in over the last two years as part of the groundbreaking and award winning Partnership Plus project.
The deal between Centro and bus companies National Express West Midlands and Arriva Midlands has seen a range of passenger benefits introduced by all parties, including new buses and easy to understand networks along with improved information, cleaning and ticketing.
The partnership with National Express alone will see more than £80 million of improvements introduced by the time the two year deal ends this summer. Among these is the current roll out of a £30m fleet of new, low emission buses.
Cllr Hartley said: “The rising satisfaction ratings coming out of this independent survey show that Partnership Plus is having a positive effect
"It’s very encouraging to see passengers expressing their satisfaction in this way. We are certainly heading in the right direction but we know can do better still and that’s what we aim to do.”
Other findings in the survey include:
Peter Coates, managing director of National Express West Midlands, said: “These improvements show that our partnership with Centro is delivering real results.
“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 deliver a record investment into new buses, introduce the region's first Platinum services and roll out our new pay-as-you-go Smartcard.”
The only two indicators which saw a drop in satisfaction were freedom from graffiti/vandalism at bus stops with a 74% rating (down 1%) and on bus journey times at 85% (down 1%).
Journey times are predominantly determined by traffic congestion and therefore not within the control of bus operators or Centro.
Both parties are, however, continuing to work with local highways authorities to see how bus journey times can be improved.
Published 13th March 2015