Arriva announces record customer satisfaction but urges more must be done to tackle urban congestion in the North West

Arriva North West double deck bus

Arriva announces record customer satisfaction but urges more must be done to tackle urban congestion in the North West.

Arriva in the North West has received a 92 per cent satisfaction rating following the publication of the Bus Passenger Survey, by independent transport watchdog Transport Focus, last week.

With services across Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire and Greater Manchester, the operator scored highly on overall passenger satisfaction across the region, including aspects such as value for money (64 per cent, up 4 per cent from 2015) and cleanliness and comfort (86 per cent).

The message that our bus drivers can often help deliver an exceptional journey also came through loud and clear, with Arriva drivers in the North West being awarded a 95 per cent satisfaction rating.

In light of the positive results, Arriva remains determined that more can be done to reverse the historic decline in bus patronage and encourage people to travel by bus, taking more cars off the road and tackling urban congestion and air pollution in the region’s towns and cities.

Satisfaction levels remain high with a ‘punctuality’ rating of 75 per cent and ‘journey time’ rating of 88 per cent across the region, however increasing road congestion and the impact of roadworks in areas like Liverpool, which are undergoing huge redevelopment, are hitting the ability of the buses to be as reliable and punctual as they could be.

Speaking about the findings, Howard Farrall, Managing Director of Arriva Merseyside, said: “Bus services are a key solution to tackling road traffic and air pollution. Increasing the use of buses and reducing private car use is crucial. One double decker bus for example could take up to 75 cars off the road. (*Greener Journeys)

“By improving our services across Merseyside and the wider North West, we hope to encourage more people to travel by bus, reducing the number of vehicles on the road and therefore levels of local air pollution and congestion.”

Taking action to increase bus patronage is a priority for the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance; a partnership between Arriva, Merseytravel and Stagecoach. As a result of the introduction of new customer-focussed improvements, the Bus Alliance is set to reach its transformational target to grow patronage by 10 per cent by 2017/18.

So what measures are Arriva and the Bus Alliance taking to convince Merseyside to hop on board and how are they leading the way on easing congestion?

“Arriva has developed the first fully national real-time bus app to enable passengers to plan their journeys more easily. We are also introducing free Wi-Fi and USB charging ports across our new vehicles, which include more than 450 hybrid buses in the UK. Major investment in Merseyside is set to deliver a new ‘green’ fleet, with 51 electric hybrid double deck, 9 gas single deck and 12 fully electric buses ”

But fixing the problem of urban congestion for passengers is often complicated and needs the combined efforts of authorities, bus operators and other agencies to jointly tackle the planning and communication of works that impact on the reliability and punctuality of bus services.

Howards continues: “Our new hybrid buses cost up to 50 per cent more than a standard diesel double decker. We’ve had support from the Government for the purchase of the new fleet and as part of the Merseyside Bus Alliance, Arriva has worked with Merseytravel to secure nearly £5m of Office for Low Emission Vehicles Funding for greener vehicles.

“The future looks bright and Merseyside can be proud to have one of the highest number of hybrid buses outside of London. I’d greatly encourage road users who haven’t travelled with us for some time or have never considered buses to come on board and support our bid for a cleaner and more efficient region”.

Transport Focus was supported by BDRC Continental Ltd in conducting the autumn 2016 survey. This year it received a total of 46,530 responses. The full report can be found at www.transportfocus.org.uk