North Yorkshire’s bus operators are celebrating coming out top in a national survey on passenger satisfaction.
The survey, organised by industry watchdog Transport Focus and published this week, assessed passenger satisfaction against a number of key measures and combined the results to give a score for overall satisfaction with bus journeys.
Passengers in North Yorkshire gave their operators a score of 94% – the highest of all the authorities involved.
Cllr. Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Public Transport said:
This just confirms our view that our bus operators are doing a first class job. We see high quality services across the county and operators continuing to invest in modern vehicles with high levels of passenger comfort and added extras such as free WiFi.
For comfort and cleanliness of buses, for length of journey time, safety of driving and personal security, North Yorkshire’s operators also scored over 90 per cent for passenger satisfaction.
Cllr Mackenzie said:
This is good news for passengers and operators. For bus services to thrive across North Yorkshire the quality of the journey is crucial. The county council, which will lose one third of its budget by 2020, has had to make difficult decisions about necessary savings but we have worked very closely with operators to retain a passenger transport network so that no community is isolated.
It is even more important, therefore, that services are built around the needs of passengers, to encourage existing users to make more journeys and seek out more people to be the bus passengers of tomorrow.
Alex Hornby, CEO at Transdev, said:
All of the team are so proud to share in this recognition of the quality of our local bus services. We remain committed to continuing our hard work, and our unrelenting aim to exceed our customers’ expectations as well as attracting more people to buses.
In the past year, we have spent millions in new buses, technology, training and customer service. Our most recent investment in ‘the 36’ between Ripon, Harrogate and Leeds has seen the service heralded by many as one of the best in the country, something we know the residents of Harrogate are really proud of.
The Council has brokered deals with numbers of bus operators in past months to retain services as well as using its own fleet of buses where possible and continuing to expand community car schemes across the county. The County Council continues to make strenuous efforts in order to retain a passenger transport network which enables people to access essential services and prevent rural isolation.
Cllr Mackenzie added:
Within North Yorkshire 85 % of bus journeys are made on high quality commercial services. Retaining a network of transport services in the more rural areas like ours is crucially important to those of our residents who have little or no access to other means of transport.
The Government’s budget reductions have meant we need to look at every area of council expenditure. Reducing the amount we spend on local bus services presents challenges but we are fortunate that North Yorkshire bus operators have a can-do approach which extends beyond their commercial networks.
Part of the solution also is to attract more fare paying passengers and so the quality of the bus journey is therefore crucial.
Craig Temple, Managing Director of Connexionsbuses, said:We are very pleased that all our hard work is appreciated. We have filled gaps and kept services running that otherwise would have been lost forever in council cuts and replacing those withdrawn by other companies.Harrogate has one of the best bus networks in the country, as is recognised by Andrew Jones, the Transport Minister (and our local MP of course!). In his buses bill speech, he quoted both ourselves and Transdev as two examples of how the bus industry works at its best.We will continue to provide differentiated services and help to keep the cost of bus services down by running value for money buses in the Harrogate region.
Another point to make is that North Yorkshire has a larger percentage of commercial services than most counties, so it is even better to appreciate that this result is mostly without the support of North Yorkshire county council.