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
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.
Stagecoach has also previously been found to
offer the lowest bus fares in Britain in all three of the most recent
surveys carried out by independent transport specialists the TAS
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
However, the research also demonstrated the growing challenges that bus operators face around the availability of road space.
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 congestion costs an addition £7million 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.
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.
Transport Focus survey showed that Merseyside had the most satisfied
customers of any metropolitan area in England as 89% of customers said
they were satisfied with services overall.
The research found that
in the areas of Gloucester and Oxfordshire, where Stagecoach is a main
operator, the number of customers who said they were satisfied had
Passenger Focus surveyed around 40,000 passengers across 51 areas and operations in England, outside of London.
The results also showed that:
• 74% of customers said they were satisfied with the punctuality of Stagecoach services
• 84% of Stagecoach passengers said they were satisfied with on-bus journey time
out of 10 Stagecoach customers in Merseyside, East Sussex, Gloucester,
North East Lincolnshire and Tees Valley said they were satisfied with
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
“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.”
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.
Stagecoach continues to
invest in customer improvements. In December, the company launched a new responsive website for its UK Bus division. The
site features a nationwide online bus planning service,
lets passengers check live running times for their services and enables
travel to be bought direct from smartphones. The website is part of a
three-year, £11million digital investment strategy.
spent around £650million in new buses and coaches for the UK in the
last eight years. Smart ticketing is now available at all Stagecoach
regional companies and, along with the UK’s other major operators,
Stagecoach has helped deliver multi-operator smart ticketing in all of
England’s city regions, benefitting around 15million people. Work is
also underway on a similar scheme in Scotland.
major bus operators are also working on an ambitious scheme that could
see contactless travel introduced on every one of the UK’s 32,000-plus
buses outside London by 2022.