Driven round the bend by late buses and rude drivers? It’s time to blow the whistle ...
BUS passengers dismayed at poor service and bad-tempered drivers can vent their frustration in a new national survey launched today by Citizens Advice Scotland.
The charity has designed the online questionnaire to gather information on problems across the country and the most shocking examples will be passed to one of its 61 local bureaux to investigate. CAS says it will ensure action is taken to deal with the worst cases.
Analysis of complaints received by Bus Users Scotland, a pressure group led by passengers, shows that service reliability, driver attitude, and buses failing to stop or show up are the most common problems.
Bus fares in Scotland have increased by almost 19 per cent in the last five years, according to the most recent statistics released by Scottish Government agency Transport Scotland while bus operator revenue stood at £671 million last year, with Government subsidy making up 45 per cent of it (£301m).
The CAS survey follows a report released last year by the charity which revealed widespread dissatisfaction among bus users.
The collaborative research project called Round The Bend covered the experience of 113 local communities in Scotland and uncovered concerns about sparse timetables and expensive ticket prices. CAS policy officer Ruth Mendel said: “Our report last year provided evidence of a number of problems consumers had in accessing and using buses.
“We now want to expand that work and gather more passenger opinion to look at how to alleviate some of these problems. We want to hear direct from Scotland’s bus users how satisfied they are and what their priorities are in relation to travelling by bus.”
The Scottish Government has three open consultations on buses while Transport Scotland is also reviewing the National Transport Strategy which is expected to provide a Scottish transport vision for the next two decades.
Mendel said: “Although over 75 per cent of all public transport journeys are made by bus, all too frequently the views of bus passengers have been under-represented in policy making. CAS wants to ensure these consumers’ voices are heard through this survey.”
CAS campaigns officer Lucy Manson said: “The ultimate aim of the campaign is to get better buses for Scots.
“In order to do this we need to ask people what matters to them when travelling by bus. We’d like people to tell us how satisfied they are with their current provision: do you want more routes, better timetabling information, or something else? We know from previous work ... that some essential journeys cost too much or take too long. It’s important these stories are heard so that the people making the decisions can make the right ones.”
The survey was welcomed by Bus Users Scotland director Gavin Booth, who said the feedback “can help bus companies and local transport authorities to provide better services”.
John Finnie MSP, the Scottish Greens’ transport spokesperson, added: “Here’s hoping the findings of this Citizens Advice Scotland survey will be used to improve bus services in this country and lead to re-regulation to stop companies cherry-picking profitable routes and leaving some communities stranded.”
The CAS survey runs from today until October 22 and can be found at: www.cas.org.uk/betterbuses.
Passengers can vent their frustration in a new bus survey launched today by Citizens Advice Scotland