25 July 2013

A pat on the back

Some interesting figures over customer satisfaction have been released by Plymouth Citybus:

Plymouth Citybus’ overall passenger satisfaction has risen 6% percent over the last 12 months. Results published by independent research company Passenger Focus shows that the overall passenger satisfaction of Plymouth Citybus services increased from 84 to 90%.

Digging deeper into the research, it shows that the overall fare satisfaction from fare paying passengers is up 7%, with the highest increase in satisfaction coming from the 16-34 year old age group. The survey measures all aspects of a passenger’s experience, from bus stops to the bus appearance, the driver to overall value for money.

Other notable increases have come from the time given for passengers to sit down and the safety of driving both up a huge 7% year on year. This was teamed with driver greetings up 4% and overall cleanliness up 5%. Value for money satisfaction has also seen a positive increase, going up by 3%, showing that the newly introduced distance based fares are working.

Plymouth Citybus’ Managing Director Richard Stevens said: “It is clear to see from the independent research that those areas in which we have heavily focused and invested in have shown the highest increases. We have added time into our network to make it realistic and achievable with the time allocated to each trip. This clearly shows in the 7% increase in customer satisfaction when it comes to the time given to get to their seat and the overall safety of driving.

We have also invested in customer service training for our drivers, which shows with the score for driver greeting increasing by 4%. The fleet has also seen investment, with the engineering department working tremendously hard to get our buses through a vigorous refurbishment program.

The results are a testament to all staff at Citybus, from drivers to Travel Centre staff and those behind the scenes, the engineers and office staff. We are really pleased with the increase this year, but we are not going to sit back and relax, we know that we have to keep finding ways to improve the service we offer to the people of Plymouth”.

Plymouth Citybus News Release

This is clearly good news for the company so its quite right that they shout about it and let everyone know! Of course many people will question these figures. They always do. There is something in our national psyche that makes us suspicious of any good news. What are they hiding? No one asked me! Were all the figures so good?

Of course Citybus will have received a much more detailed report than the one they are putting out. Careful analysis will be undertaken to get the full facts and there will be areas that are highlighted as needing attention. This is normal in any business. That's why these customer surveys are carried out. You wouldn't expect them to shout about any areas of their business which are not showing up so well. They will however be working hard behind the scenes to make improvements where they are needed.

The continued development of the route network is the main area where we see change brought about as a result of these sort of surveys. Even when the routes themselves haven't changed many timetables have been reset to allow more time for the buses to reach their destination. We have seen quite a dramatic improvement in the 50 over the last year as the timetable is now much better paced than it was before. There will always be issues at Derriford at tea time but otherwise this route runs really well. Of course there is a downside – it can be annoying when your bus stops and waits at a bus stop to wait time to prevent running early, especially in the extreme heat we have been having!

The Boss is quite rightly proud and can take some satisfaction that he is doing some things right and that some people have actually noticed! The fact that Citybus feel the need to buy decent numbers of new double deckers  for the first time since 1981 (ignoring the 4 new ‘coaches’) shows there is a high level of confidence that the business will continue to do well.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, the 50 has massively improved since November; mainly as it doesn't change with the 61/62 anymore! 1 minute layovers at Derriford were never going to work.

    The 34 too since the May changes is considerably more reliable than it was November 2012-May 2013. This is obviously the result of removing deckers from these services! However as a consequence I've seen many, many standing loads in the Darts on peak 34s. Equally the 21s punctuality has gone downhill a bit though the extra capacity of the deckers is definitely required; some trips even have standing loads in the deckers.

    A big well done to all at Citybus for the increase in satisfaction, it shows something is going right, and I'm sure they'll identify those areas that need attention. I have to say though drivers are a lot more friendly and helpful now - that Customer Service training has definitely improved, as I have seen a marked improvement in drivers manners and friendliness etc.


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