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12 Mar 2015
Bus passengers have voted Stagecoach as the best value major bus operator in Britain, according to new independent research.
Consumer watchdog Passenger Focus found that customers across the UK rated Stagecoach higher than any other national bus operator on value for money in its latest UK Bus Passenger Satisfaction Survey.
Stagecoach was also found to have the most satisfied customers of any bus operator surveyed in Scotland and the company continues to have one of the highest overall levels of satisfaction of any major bus operator in England.
Only 4% of Stagecoach customers surveyed in England and just 1% surveyed in Scotland said they were dissatisfied overall.
The company was also one of the best rated bus companies in the country by people with disabilities.
The research also found that Tyne and Wear and Merseyside have the most satisfied customers of any metropolitan area in England as 90% of customers said they were satisfied with services overall.
Passenger Focus surveyed around 47,000 passengers across 38 areas in England, outside of London and four areas in Scotland. It found that the average satisfaction with all operators in England remained at 88%. Satisfaction among operators in England increased for value for money (63% v 61%).
In England, the results showed that:
In Scotland, the research found that:
Robert Montgomery, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “This is yet more independent evidence, from the customers who use buses, that we offer the best value bus travel in Britain and we have amongst the most satisfied passengers in the country.
“Our focus on low fares, reinvesting our profits in better quality journeys, and promoting customer service is getting more people back on board the bus. It reflects the hard work and dedication every day of our people on the frontline and behind the scenes. However, we know we need to work even harder to further improve the travel experience for our customers and we are doing that.
“We are again leading the way on what matters most to bus passengers – value for money, punctuality and journey times. We are also particularly pleased at the high ratings we have received from people with disabilities as we invest in more accessible buses and dedicated disability training for our team.
“It is also telling that 9 out of 10 customers in Tyne and Wear are satisfied with the way their buses are run – the top rating of an metropolitan area in the country. It sends a very clear message as the future of bus services in the region are being debated.
“But we want to do more to further improve the travel experience for our customers everywhere and the support of local councils is vital. We want to work together to raise the bar further, help get more motorists on the bus and ensure that buses play a key role in delivering connectivity, prosperity and economic growth.”
Stagecoach has three times been independently assessed as offering the lowest fares of any major bus operator in the UK. The research was carried out by independent transport consultants TAS in 2009, 2011 and 2013. The 2013 study found weekly bus travel with Stagecoach was on average 12% lower than the next cheapest operator, and 50% less than bus fares charged in London by Transport for London.
Stagecoach earlier this week announced that it is to invest more than £80million in around 470 new, greener buses and coaches for its services in the UK and mainland Europe. The Group has placed £630m of orders for new buses and coaches for its regional bus operations in the UK in the last eight years.
The company 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. Along with the country's other major bus operators, Stagecoach is also making a multi-million pound investment in smart multi-operator ticketing across all of the main city regions in the UK. Work on the ground-breaking project is underway and is due to be completed during 2015.
Stagecoach is also 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 and this year launched a new five-year sustainability strategy with a plan to cut carbon emissions, reduce water consumption and improve recycling at its transport operations in the UK, mainland Europe and North America.