New report into why people use coach and how to improve it

Passenger Focus published Coach passenger needs and experiences earlier this year which reported on why people used express coach, what they like about it had how it could be enhanced. Overall express coach was seen very favorable by users, many of whom were unsurprisingly motivated by cheaper fares compared to rail but many also mentioned that other benefits included that they were guaranteed a good quality seat in quiet and stress free environment compared to the train. Many users said that had previously used trains but moved over to coach at the recommendation of friends or by chance. The on-board wi-fi was a big plus for some. Users preferred coach stations to roadside stops saying that roadside stops lacked information, shelter and reassurance and they were worried that the coach might not actually stop for them.

Recommendations:

  • Promote coach travel better
  • Improve journey times
  • Improve coach station
  • Better roadside stops with real-time information and shelters
  • More thought about concerns for luggage being lost/stolen
  • One place to compare and book tickets
  • More visible staff and police presence
  • Enhance the onboard experience
  • Improve the complaints process

Modern express coach with onboard wifi

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Coachways vision

We are just completing a six month placement by Ben Clark from the Centre for Transport and Society at UWE in Bristol who has been reviewing the UK’s national and regional transport policy to see where the Coach currently fits into these plans. The briefest summary that coach is briefly mentioned in a nationally policy context but that this has now been converted into any concrete proposals or action. At the regional level the SW and SE regions do have some concrete plans but of course these institutions are now being phased out and being replaced by Local Enterprise Partnerships which have let to get started.

He also reviewed existing coach services along some identified corridors and then proposed new higher performance schedules for the routes based on the availability of new Coachway Interchanges close to the motorway network with onward local transport links to local urban areas. The full results are available from the Coachway Vision section of the Ideas in Transit wiki.