Bus passengers have rated Stagecoach as the best value major bus operator in Britain for the third consecutive year, according to new independent research.
Consumer watchdog Transport Focus found that customers across the UK ranked Stagecoach higher than any other national bus operator on value for money in its latest UK Bus Passenger Satisfaction Survey.
67% of Stagecoach customers in England said they were satisfied with value for money, significantly above the industry average of 62%.
Within specific local areas, a number of Stagecoach companies were also found to be rated highly for value for money including :
- Merseyside (81%),
- South Yorkshire (71%),
- Tees Valley (77%) and
- North East Lincolnshire (72%).
In Manchester 69% of Stagecoach customers were satisfied with value for money, compared to an average score of 66% for the Greater Manchester area as a whole. In addition, value for money scores across Tyne and Wear rose from 63% in 2014 to 68% in 2015.
The results of the most recent Transport Focus research showed that 86% of Stagecoach customers in England were found to be satisfied with their bus services overall, in line with the UK average. Just 5% of Stagecoach passengers surveyed said they were dissatisfied overall.
However, the research also demonstrated the growing challenges that bus operators face around the availability of road space.
There was no improvement in the average customer ratings for any of the major bus operators on punctuality and on-bus journey time between 2014 and 2015, with some scores dropping.
In Greater Manchester, where Stagecoach has said traffic congestions costs an addition £7 million per year, the number of passengers saying they were satisfied with punctuality has dropped from 76% in 2014 to 71% in 2015. The number of bus customers in Manchester who said they were satisfied with on-bus journey time has also dropped from 85% in 2014 to 81% in 2015.
In addition, the results showed that in the majority of areas in which Stagecoach operates, an increased number of customers rated congestion/traffic jams as the main factor affecting journey length.
Robert Montgomery, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said:
“This is further verification, from the customers who use buses, that we offer the best value bus travel in Britain, but we know running bus services that people want to use is about more than just the cost of travel.
“Customers want high quality customer service and confidence that buses will run on time. Our employees have done a fantastic job in delivering good services for our passengers but we are concerned about the impact of road congestion on the punctuality of our services. Today’s research shows it’s high time something was done to tackle the problem of congestion in our towns and cities.
“Operators need support and action from local authorities to free up road space for buses. By making bus services even more reliable, we can attract more people out of their cars, improve journey times and deliver a positive environmental impact.”
Stagecoach Chief Executive Martin Griffiths recently warned that congestion – particularly at peak times - is strangling the UK’s towns and cities.
- The cost to the UK economy from congestion is estimated to be £11 billion every year.
- At current rates between now and March 2020, congestion will have wasted around £50b - enough to fund the entire cost of the HS2 high speed rail project.
- Department for Transport statistics show that traffic on Britain’s roads reached its highest ever level last year and congestion has continued to rise.
- Separate DfT congestion figures show that average speeds on A roads during the morning peak have fallen for almost four years.
Full details of the Transport Focus Bus Passenger Satisfaction Survey can be found here –