Report explores info and infrastructure barriers to bus use in Wales – routeone

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Significant perceived barriers around information provision and infrastructure at stops are putting the public in Wales off bus use, research carried out by Transport Focus on behalf of Transport for Wales (TfW) has found.

While the work was undertaken in Wales, and identifies that information and infrastructure is still less of a consideration in bus usage than service levels, Transport Focus Director David Sidebottom notes in his foreword that the findings will be equally relevant elsewhere.

Mr Sidebottom adds that while paper timetables at bus stops are popular, a fear exists that they are out of date or unclear – and similarly, that digital displays offer timetable data but no real-time information.

Transport Focus equally highlights how concerns over information about routes, fares and even the correct side of the road on which to wait were also flagged in the survey. Wales has other barriers around understanding information when it is provided and being comfortable waiting at a bus stop, the body adds.

TfW hopes to understand the barriers to usage that exist both before a bus journey as well as at stops. The research was carried out as part of its plans to standardise and develop “a priority list of features and improvements for bus stops in different locations” under wider moves to reform bus services in Wales through country-wide franchising.

Findings will support TfW in determining information needs of passengers and expectations of infrastructure at different bus stops. Their views will be considered when setting minimum standards.

Transport Focus highlights three levels of passenger needs from bus stops in the report: Good, which defines minimum requirements; better, with ‘nice to haves’; and best, which will include digital displays, ideally with real-time information.

Speaking about the work, Mr Sidebottom says: “Passengers have told us in other recent bus research that frequent, reliable and value for money services are the most important factors in making buses feel like a realistic transport option for those with a choice.

“However, in Wales, other significant barriers exist in terms of not being able to find or understand information about a journey and not being comfortable using a bus stop.

“The provision of information at the stop along with seating, shelter and feeling safe are particularly important, especially if the stop is in an exposed position or when passengers may have some time to wait.

“We welcome TfW’s commitment to work on future planning to tackle the barriers and to ensure that passengers’ views are taken into account in setting minimum standards.”

Access the report here.

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