14 March 2019
RMT Press Office:
RMT warns that privatised buses are failing the nation on a massive scale as passenger survey is issued today
Bus union RMT warned that the privatised bus system was still failing Britain’s communities as figures from the latest bus Passenger Survey and the Department for Transport highlighted the problems of Britain’s costly buses.
Figures from the survey published today show that passenger satisfaction is consistently lowest when they are asked about the cost of fares, with some areas showing decreasing satisfaction since 2017.
RMT General Secretary Mick cash said;
“Today’s survey results confirm that passengers are being hit hard by the cost of Britain’s buses, with commuters and young people feeling it most.
"The Department of Transport’s own figures show fares rising faster than wages everywhere and by a whopping 9.7% in non-metropolitan areas, while passenger journeys are falling.
"We also need to remember that bus services are being wiped out in some areas due to cuts and cherry-picking by the private operators and that of course is missing from this survey. You can't ask people for their opinions on bus services where they simply don't exist.
"It’s time for a new approach to Britain’s bus service which puts the needs of its people and its workers ahead of profits. “
The Bus Passenger Survey for 2018 shows that passenger satisfaction is consistently lowest in relation to value for money. (p. 3)
The overall average figures for satisfaction with value for money are unchanged from 2017 at 67%, but the range reveals that some areas are now doing worse on value for money than they were last year. [The sample isn’t exactly the same so we need to be careful but Essex, for example, is scoring worse, as are West of England and West Yorkshire) (p. 7)
Within these figures satisfaction with value for money is worst among those commuting to work and those aged 16-34 (ie within Labour’s target constituency for the free travel) (p. 8)
In his foreword, Jeff Halliwell acknowledges this is a problem: “However, it is apparent from the value for money ratings of some bus operators/groups that many passengers are reacting to fare increases and the way that extra cost is hitting their pockets. Are some passengers so sensitive to the absolute cost and any fare increases that they are voting with their feet?”
DfT quarterly stats published separately show that fares outside London have risen faster than wages over the last year. In metropolitan areas they rose by 3.3% between December 2017 and December 2018 and in non-metropolitan areas they rose by a whopping 9.7%.
This might also help explain why there were 5 million fewer bus journeys in non-metropolitan areas in the last quarter of 2018 than over the same time the previous year.
For the DfT stats, see:https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/quarterly-bus-statistics-october-to-december-2018?utm_source=cdba8939-61c9-4884-b86e-8cbc1b0c67a5&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate