Passenger Focus calles for better use of data

Independent watchdog Passenger Focus has called on bus bosses to make better use of data to get buses running on time.

Publishing its report of a long-term study looking at how bus punctuality is being or could be improved, the organisation says that partnership is the way forward.

Says Passenger Focus’ Passenger Director David Sidebottom: “Passengers tell us that they understand buses can be late, and can ‘forgive’ some delay as long as operators seem to be doing their best.

“There is a lot of data available and we want bus operators and local authorities to get stuck into the detail to pinpoint what is causing issues and start to think of ways to improve.”

Challenges to punctuality included traffic and parking, boarding and alighting, inadequate recovery time and, “perhaps most surprisingly,” exiting bus stations.

Adds Mr Sidebottom: “We know from our Bus Passenger Survey that passengers are consistently less satisfied with the punctuality of their buses than they are with services as a whole, so we thought it was high time that we talked to the people responsible for making sure the buses show up when they are supposed to.

“We asked if they knew when, where and why their buses were delayed, and what they were doing to tackle problems.

“Today’s report and case study pack, while not representing a statistically valid sample of the country’s vast variety of bus routes and operating environments, highlights the challenges of setting timetables to reflect variable patterns of traffic and patronage.”