Stagecoach

Stagecoach leads national bus operators on customer satisfaction for second year in a row

26 Mar 2014

  • 90% of Stagecoach passengers satisfied with their bus service
  • Best national operator for value for money, punctuality and journey time
  • Praised for “very good year on year consistency across its operations”
  • Only 3% of passengers dissatisfied with Stagecoach bus services
  •  Independent survey by Passenger Focus of 34,000 passengers 

Bus passengers using Stagecoach are more satisfied with their service than customers using other national UK operators for the second year in a row, according to new independent research.

Consumer watchdog Passenger Focus found that 90% of Stagecoach bus passengers were either very or fairly satisfied with their overall service – even higher than last year’s leading score of 86%.

Researchers also found that Stagecoach was the top national operator for the key customer measures of value for money, punctuality and on-bus journey time. Only 3% of Stagecoach customers surveyed said they were dissatisfied overall.

The overall customer ratings for Stagecoach were higher than three other national UK bus operators – Arriva, First and National Express - all of whom achieved an overall satisfaction rating of 86%. Passenger Focus does not include Go Ahead in the national operator results due to the small sample of their services covered by the survey.

Stagecoach maintained or increased its overalll satisfaction ratings on every single measure in the survey, including the performance of its drivers, cleanliness of vehicles, on-bus information and personal security.

Table 1: Overall bus passenger satisfaction % by national operator*

Scroll table horizontally to view table content

Operator

Overall satisfaction

Value for money

Punctuality

Journey time

Stagecoach

90

67

80

85

Arriva

86

56

74

85

First

86

58

74

83

National Express

86

61

73

85

Source: Passenger Focus

Passenger Focus Chairman Colin Foxall, in his foreword to the latest report, said: “Stagecoach had the highest combined scores and showed very good year on year consistency across its operations.”

Passenger Focus surveyed around 34,000 passengers across 19 areas outside of London. It found that the average satisfaction with all operators was 88%, up from 84% in the previous survey. Satisfaction also increased for value for money (61% v 54%), punctuality (76% v 70%) and on-bus journey time (86% v 85%). Tyne and Wear had the highest overall satisfaction of any of the six metropolitan regions in England, with a rating of 90%. Among the major operators in the North-east, Stagecoach had the highest overall satisfaction rating. 

Satisfaction with Stagecoach services across its operations ranged from 87% in Greater Manchester to 92% in Merseyside. Stagecoach’s satisfaction ratings were either above or equal to the average in every region surveyed in which the company operates buses. 

Robert Montgomery, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “For the second year in a row, independent research has proved our customers are the most satisfied of any national bus operator. We are again leading the way on what matters most to bus passengers – value for money, punctuality and journey times.

“This recognition is a tribute to the customer focus of our drivers behind the wheel and our wider team behind the scenes. They can be rightly proud of what they have achieved. But we know we don’t always get things right and need to work even harder. We will continue to invest in training and other measures to improve the travel experience for our customers.

“Our biggest opportunity to make a difference is to deliver the excellent service which will attract people who currently take the car. We need the support of local councils to help get motorists on board the bus and we are very focused on building strong partnerships with transport authorities across the country to achieve that.”

The Passenger Focus survey included the views of more than 4,700 Stagecoach bus users from Tyne and Wear to Devon. A breakdown of the Stagecoach results is in the table below:

Table 2: Stagecoach bus passenger satisfaction % by area

Scroll table horizontally to view table content

Area

Overall satisfaction

Value for money

Punctuality

On-bus journey time

Devon

90

58

83

85

Greater Manchester

87

70

79

82

Kent

92

68

87

90

Lancashire

91

60

81

82

Merseyside

92

62

83

88

South Yorkshire

89

75

80

86

Tees Valley

91

68

80

89

Tyne and Wear

91

63

76

90

Source: Passenger Focus

Stagecoach is involved in a number of initiatives to improve the quality and affordability of bus travel, and to increase customer satisfaction even further:

  • Professional training – Stagecoach’s team of around 17,000 drivers and other licence holders at its regional bus companies have completed more than 91,000 courses under the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence programme. It is one of the biggest commitments to continuous professional development of any bus operator in the UK and includes modules around customer service, disability awareness, safe and skilled driving, and eco-driving techniques.
  • New bus investment – Stagecoach earlier this month unveiled record orders worth over £100million for nearly 570 new greener buses and coaches. The Group has placed £545m of orders for new buses and coaches for its regional bus operations in the UK in the last seven years. It has also ordered more than £100million of new vehicles for its London bus operations since buying the business in 2010. Most new buses and coaches are produced in the UK, helping support hundreds of British manufacturing jobs
  • Affordable travel - Stagecoach has twice been independently assessed as offering the lowest bus fares of any major UK bus operator. It also runs the UK’s first long-term nationwide discounted bus travel scheme for jobseekers. The initiative gives jobseekers a 50% discount on their bus travel to help them find employment.
  • Better information – Stagecoach is rolling out Twitter across its UK bus companies to improve customer service. Passengers have welcomed the provision of real-time information, particularly during times of severe weather and other disruption. An improved Stagecoachbus.com website, new online journey planner and smartphone app are also in development. Stagecoach is also making a multi-million-pound investment in a nationwide automatic vehicle location system for its 7,000-strong regional bus fleet. It will allow for real time service information to be provided to customers via smartphone apps and the internet, with the system expected to be fully deployed in late 2015.
  • Smart ticketing – Stagecoach was the first major operator to have smartcard technology on all of its buses, making it easier for people to travel and make integrated journeys using both bus and rail services. More than 240million journeys are now made each year on Stagecoach bus and rail services using smartcards. Stagecoach has also successfully tested the use of contactless bankcards to pay for bus travel, as well as mobile phone ticketing using near-field communications technology.
  • Greener travel – Stagecoach is leading the way in making bus travel greener. It has cut the carbon intensity of its UK bus operations by around 30% since 2007-08. The company has invested in improved energy management systems at offices and depots to reduce carbon emissions from buildings. A hi-tech eco-driving system has reduced fuel consumption by around 4% and resulted in smoother journeys for passengers. Stagecoach is also the UK bus industry's leading investor in new hybrid electric buses, which deliver a 30% reduction in carbon emissions compared to standard vehicles. 


BUS PASSENGER SURVEY 
The Passenger Focus survey was conducted in the autumn of 2013 with responses from 34,000 passengers covering 34 area operators. Within England, it was conducted in the following areas: six former metropolitan authorities; two transport authority area groups and 11 local transport authority areas. For the first time, Passenger Focus survey also covered bus operations in Scotland.
A copy of the full Bus Passenger Suurvey Report can be accessed online at: http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/research/bus-passenger-survey
*As a result of the areas selected the proportion of each national operator’s services surveyed will vary. Due to coverage of areas served by Go-Ahead services being less widespread, they have been omitted from the major operator results published by Passenger Focus.