TAS emphasises need for partnerships

Passenger transport public policy think tank, TAS Policy Exchange, has emphasised what it describes as the importance of partnership working to achieve more efficient and effective local bus services. Entitled ‘Making Buses Better: An Agenda for Change’, it emphasises that partnerships will deliver services that meet the needs and expectations of passengers and ensure buses continue to play a key role in meeting the needs of local economies at minimum cost to the public purse. The report sets out a series of measures by which bus network performance can be assessed, including trips per head of the population, customer satisfaction scores, movements in the ‘Time Cost’ of bus journeys, punctuality scores and patronage growth in relation to local economic and demographic conditions.

The report’s recommendations are based on an examination of the economics of bus operation as well as a review of what is working well in places where buses experience high levels of usage and satisfaction. It argues that policy therefore needs to recognise the importance and measurement of the ‘Time Costs’ of a bus journey. It concludes that detailed focus on a process of continuous improvement in journey times can deliver a virtuous circle of growth, quality and investment.

TAS Policy Exchange Chairman, Chris Cheek, said, ‘We urge authorities and operators to sit down together and work out what the priorities for improvement are in their area and how they can work together to deliver them. Only through closer working together can real progress towards public policy goals be achieved. We feel very strongly that an understanding of the importance of time to bus operations is essential. The time taken to make a journey drives mode choice; determines the cost and efficiency of bus networks and is vital to customer perceptions and satisfaction. Meanwhile, reductions in journey time have a key role in promoting economic efficiency and growth.’

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