Major bus investment leads to more satisfied customers

6% increase in commuter satisfaction as buses get cleaner and safer

An independent study shows that passengers are feeling the benefit of major investment in buses across the West Midlands.

The biggest improvements according to bus users were in cleanliness, safety, punctuality and journey times.

The research was carried out by independent transport watchdog Passenger Focus and jointly funded by Centro, the regional Transport Authority and National Express West Midlands.

It found that overall in the West Midlands, customer satisfaction has increased to 85%, up four percentage from a similar survey undertaken in the Autumn of 2011.

The scores show significant improvements for the region’s major bus company, National Express West Midlands.

National Express West Midland’s results shows commuter satisfaction is now at 82%; a 6% increase on Nov 2011. Other passengers satisfaction also increased by 3% during the same period to 86%; one percent above the regional average.

The most improved area according to bus users was the cleanliness of the National Express West Midlands vehicles, which has seen an impressive 8% increase.

National Express West Midlands recently appointed a new cleaning contractor who has introduced a more efficient, audited cleaning system as well as installing new bus wash machines at several of their regional depots.

5% of passengers felt safer on National Express West Midlands buses than they did at the end of last year.

This comes as the bus operator doubled the amount of inspectors on their buses and recruited two dedicated Police Constables for the bus network.

There was also an 8% increase in satisfaction with journey times as a result of the work National Express West Midlands has done to make their routes faster and more reliable.

This comes alongside a 6% leap in satisfaction with bus punctuality in the region.

Passenger Focus is an independent public body set up by the Government to protect the interests of England’s bus passengers outside London.

They surveyed a total of 1206 passengers during May, including nearly a thousand National Express West Midlands customers.

The data produced by Passenger Focus will be used by National Express West Midlands and Centro to ensure that they continue to invest in the improvements that mean the most to their customers and make the bus more attractive to car users.

Peter Coates, Managing Director of National Express West Midlands said:

“We are delighted that our customer satisfaction score is increasing and that these improvements are coming in the areas we have worked hard to make better.”

“The cleanliness, safety, punctuality and journey time of our services are important to our customers that is why we have spent millions of pounds investing in new vehicles, better route management and driver training.”

“The large investment we have made has been matched with very hard work by our 5,400 staff across the region who are constantly striving to make our services even better.”

Geoff Inskip, Chief Executive of Centro said:

“This survey is excellent news for passengers using buses in the West Midlands. The increase in customer satisfaction on National Express services is a reflection of our partnership working which has focussed on improving the passenger experience.

“The findings also send out a clear message to people that bus travel in the West Midlands is safe, fast, and reliable and a viable alternative to the car.”

The full survey can be found at the Passenger Focus website

Published 20th July 2012