metrobus heading in the right direction with its first customer satisfaction survey
More than 80 percent of customers using metrobus services say they would recommend them to a relative or friend according to a new survey.
Customers have branded it ‘modern’, ‘quick’ and ‘easy’ in the first survey since the service was launched in May 2018. It has also revealed that the new rapid transport system has resulted in nearly 19% of those surveyed now leaving their cars at home and switching to public transport, which was the primary objective behind the launch of metrobus.
metrobus is a partnership between Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council and the two participating bus operators: First West of England and Bristol Community Transport.
Most people surveyed are travelling between five and seven times a week across the three metrobus services and while 61.8% are using it for work, a surprising number are using it for shopping (42.9%) and leisure activities (36.8). The ‘buy before you board’ ticketing strategy is working well, with the majority of customers (74.3%) buying tickets online, taking advantage of lower prices and helping to speed up boarding times.
More than 76% of the 720 customers who responded said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the punctuality and reliability of all three services. Other areas that scored highly for customer satisfaction were the comfort of the journey, on-board wi-fi, USB charging facilities and friendly and helpful drivers.
The most popular route is the most recently-launched m1 Hengrove to Cribbs Causeway service which is being used by more than 68% of those who responded. This is the third and longest metrobus route connecting south Bristol, Bedminster, the city centre, UWE, Bradley Stoke and Cribbs Causeway.
Its launch followed the successful introduction of routes m3 and m2 in May and September last year, serving Emersons Green and Lyde Green Park and Ride to the city centre and Long Ashton Park and Ride to the city centre respectively.
First also introduced the m3x in January this year, in response to customer feedback and increasing customer numbers. The m3x is an express commuter service that takes customers straight into the centre from Hambrook, without stopping at UWE. All services have performed above expectations with more than 2m customers on board to date.
Cllr Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Transport at Bristol City Council, said: “Reducing congestion on roads around the Bristol region is a key priority.
“Creating genuine alternative travel choices for people is a big priority for Bristol and the West of England authorities. When people are able to switch to public transport, the more space we free up on our busy transport network for those who rely on their vehicle and don’t have other choices.
“We are working with First and Bristol Community Transport to make a success of metrobus, which is one key element of transforming the way we travel, alongside a Bus Deal to increase public transport journeys and our ambitions for a new mass transit system for Bristol.
“If the 18.6% of those surveyed who said they were now leaving their cars at home is representative of the more than 70,000 metrobus customers that we carry every week, this means metrobus is potentially removing thousands of single occupancy car journeys from our congested roads each week.”
James Freeman, Managing Director, First West of England, said: “All three services have been very well received by our customers with very few teething problems and positive feedback about the facilities available on board. The introduction of the m3x also shows how we can tweak the service to make it even more convenient for some of our customers, cutting down journey times.
“There was also constructive feedback on where we could improve the service which is invaluable as we constantly review the customer journey and experience. We are grateful to everyone who took the time to come back to us.”
The m2 and m3 services are provided directly by First whereas the m1 service is operated by Bristol Community Transport under contract to First West of England. They invested in a fleet of new buses running on bio gas generated from food and farm waste, representing the first major investment in biogas buses in the area and putting the West of England at the forefront of low emission bus operations powered by alternative sources.