3 Objectives To Review Bus Quality Standards Current practice – investment patterns Identify disparity Define standards Identify options to reduce disparity To Review Bus Stop Infrastructure Levels and standards across key corridors Best practise Where to make improvements To Review Value for Money Relating Price to Quality
4 Approach Desk research: fleet profiles and trends Period ticket ranges Best practise elsewhere – fleet and infrastructure Contextualisation – DDA compliance requirements Mystery Shopper Survey 250 covert surveys across SEStran region Quality Audit of 31 aspects of the total bus journey Bus Stop, Shelter and Information External and Internal Appearance Customer to Driver interface Punctuality Single fare charged
5 Our Survey 243 usable survey records Sample represents geographic and market split First 36% Lothian25% Stagecoach22% Munro’s6% Other Firms 11% 20% of journeys cross border Mystery Traveller paid single fare and scored trip by quality measures: Stop Vehicle Journey Driver
7 Fleet Quality Vehicle Quality Generally Good External Presentation Majority showed correct number and destination display External condition and cleanliness generally reasonable though outside Edinburgh affects of winter conditions noticeable Internal Presentation Munro's and Lothian highest scores First in Falkirk and Clackmannanshire – lowest scores
8 Stops and Shelters Shelters 72% in very good condition 9% badly vandalised and in need of urgent repair 6% poor repair with some vandalism Replacement rates for DDA compliance The need for improvement? Setting Standards Stop Signs Majority present with current information 8 missing altogether, 13 needed replacement
9 Stops and Shelters (2) Information 73% current route specific information 9% had no information (more than half of which were in Borders) Facilities 67% had seating, lighting, level kerb 23% had one of above 8% had none (half of which were in Falkirk) Cleanliness 35% functionally clean; 27% thoroughly clean 26% were in need of routine cleaning 7% were dirty and littered.
10 Stop Quality: Average Score by Local Authority Maximum Score = +3, Minimum = -3
11 Conclusions – Value for Money There is clear variation in fare levels across the region But also stark variance in quality covering measures in the gift of operators and authorities Short distance fares are often comparatively high, reflecting: Walk options are available Commercial strategies to price towards the mid range market Trade off between maximising yield and seat turnover Pricing structures reflect three tier market Local Travel Travel to Neighbouring town Travel to Edinburgh
12 Conclusions – Stops and Shelters Comprehensive level of infrastructure Much of it in good condition Some very poor Maintenance and cleaning standards vary Information provision usually comprehensive But with some very bad examples Action needed to: Ensure repair and cleanliness of shelters Ensure renewals programmed Provide enhanced quality waiting environments on Quality Corridors
13 Conclusions – Bus Fleet High Levels of Quality Apparent Some disparities Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, West Lothian, Fife have lowest scores Some very high quality vehicles: Stagecoach Fife on Fife to Edinburgh services Horsburgh on 555/777 Investment levels higher than average Major groups have increased orders
14 Possible Actions – Value for Money Compelling price reductions is almost certainly unfeasible Operators explicitly want and need control of price LAs can influence quality to address value for money shortcomings Smartcards – as already used in parts of study area - can deliver a step change in ticket offers Can enable discounts for regular but not frequent users Tangible benefits to reliability – and therefore cost – by reducing cash transactions Monitoring: Annual Mystery Shopper survey to maintain quality v price link Agreement to share fare information – fare tables are public domain material.
15 Possible Actions – Fleet and Infrastructure Operators continue to invest where there is a strong business case Consultation with stakeholders may encourage complementary investment in infrastructure In some areas improved standards of presentation are required, particular on vehicle interiors Where business case is weak, operators can engage with LAs with a view to pump priming, capital cost or parallel investment to improve the case LAs specify minimum vehicle standards for secured service contracts on a consistent basis Ultra high quality could be introduced on specific corridors, especially to target modal shift. Programmed improvement in infrastructure should match vehicle investment
16 Opportunities Voluntary Partnerships linking operator and authority investment focusing on the key corridors Can simply structure existing planned investment, but may enable higher levels Statutory Quality Partnership on key corridors LAs invest in new infrastructure Bus Operators fund new vehicles, meeting highest environmental standards (diesel) Agreement on maintenance of quality issues Pump Priming on secondary corridors where growth could be achieved with public sector support for business case Showcase corridor with Hybrid vehicles, ultra high quality standards and advanced waiting environment.
17 Constraints We noted the potential for significant decline in passenger experience if standards are not maintained, let alone improved Could lead to a vicious circle of decline Funding for existing initiatives, such as concessionary fares is a key issue for bus operators Delay in increasing fuel duty rebate has been damaging LA funding is constrained Some zero budgets for bus stop infrastructure
18 Conclusions Buses are of huge value to the community and economy Quality is very impressive – but: There is a real risk of decline if maintenance of quality standards is not improved, eg Bus lane surfacing New and Well Maintained Shelters Continued fleet investment This is a National issue for Scotland and strategic direction is required from Government SEStran needs to lobby for this; to raise the profile of bus as a tool to achieve wider policy objectives; to ensure funding is unlocked.