News in Brief

Thamesdown satisfaction

A Thamesdown passenger survey conducted by the TAS Partnership has shown 88% of respondents rated the services as either ‘good’ or ‘very good’. 82% of people said that the services were the same, better or much better than a year ago, with the reasons given as better frequency, punctuality, cleanliness and friendlier drivers. Over 1,100 passengers were asked to complete a questionnaire onboard the Swindon based operator’s busiest bus services during the third week of September 2015. Of those asked, 732 passengers completed the survey. When asked why people used the bus, 48% of passengers surveyed said it was in order to get to work or college, whilst 20% of passengers said they use the bus for shopping. According to the research, 98% said they had a comfortable ride and 97% said the bus driver was friendly and polite. When asked to rank their top three priorities for their bus service, frequency, reliability and convenience were highlighted as the most important.

First values workplace learning centres

FirstBus and Unite the Union has hosted a learning conference to recognise the value and success of the operator’s workplace learning centres. The two organisations have established over 50 workplace learning centres at depots across the UK. The centres, which are manned by Trade Union Learning Representatives (TULRs), help colleagues develop and learn new skills or improve numeracy and literacy skills. The centres even offer courses in conversational Spanish, scuba diving and a host of other areas.

Awards were presented during the event to the bus division’s ‘Learning Centre of Excellence’ (Caledonia) and ‘Lifelong Learner of the Year’ (Michaela Barrow from Halifax). The event also recognised the important role that the TULRs play in the success of the learning centres with two award categories: ‘TULR Individual Progression Award’ (Chris Myers from Leeds) and ‘Regional TULR Award’ (Jimmy Lillis, Caledonia).

MD of First Bus, Giles Fearnley, said, ‘This partnership between First Bus and Unite is groundbreaking and enables our people to recognise and embrace the benefits of learning as an investment in their future. Our workplace learning centres are an ideal tool to help unlock the potential of our people right across the business. Our awards ceremony is a fantastic means of rewarding and recognising the hard work of everyone involved with bringing our learning centres to life and making them a success.’

Piccadilly Gardens’ work

Due to resurfacing works, Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens is closed for a four week period with temporary bus stops arranged for the 54 affected services. The top section of nearby Portland Street is also closed to through traffic during this period and once reopened, it will be for buses, black cabs, emergency vehicles, deliveries and cyclists only between Minshull Street and Aytoun Street. This is intended to improve bus journey times and reliability, with general traffic permanently re-routed. It forms part of the Grow project, which is seeing over £1bn invested in Manchester city centre infrastructure improvements by 2017.

Real time info from morebus

A new web feature from morebus enables passengers in Bournemouth and Poole to have ‘real time’ travel information. The Go-Ahead owned operator is making the service available to celebrate the launch of its new website.

morebus Communications Manager, Nikki Honer, said, ‘We are excited to be providing those travelling with us across the region with quick and easy access to live bus timetables at the tap of a button or the touch of a smartphone. There is great demand for up-to-the-minute ‘real time’ travel information, and we want to make it easier than ever for our customers to plan their journeys with us. A link to our ‘live bus times’ section can be found on the morebus website homepage.’

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