What bus passengers think about punctuality and timetables
We were prompted to write this after reading the report by Passenger Focus of the same name. The only thing is, the report was published in 2014! But in our defence, Papercast wasn’t around back then and in all honesty, what bus users think about punctuality and timetables hasn’t really changed in five years.
So how late is this blog? Just a little, but it’s still very relevant!
You can read the full report, How late is late – What bus passengers think about punctuality and timetables, but here are our key takeaways:
- When bus passengers use published timetables, they are looking for a high level of accuracy of the information in relation to the actual running of the bus.
- Over-simplified timetables leave passengers with low confidence, which makes journey planning difficult and at times, frustrating.
- To help achieve accuracy, passengers prefer more detailed information that reflects differences by time of day, and if possible, departure times during peak hours.
- Generally, passengers consider it to be unlikely that buses will always be on time given the range of factors that are out of the driver’s control, for example, traffic congestion, passenger volumes, weather issues, roadworks and other unforeseen traffic delays such as accidents.
- The window of tolerance for a bus turning up late is generally between five and ten minutes. Five minutes was suggested most often as the length of time that it was acceptable to wait.
- Although passengers are willing to be flexible to a degree and accept margins of error in relation to punctuality, they want bus operators to do what they can to reciprocate their tolerance.
- Passengers expect operators to set temporary schedules and communicate changes including corresponding published information during periods of extended disruption.
- This means bus operators must set schedules that are realistic, accurate, reliable and easy to use, and make a visible effort to meet their timetable promises.
- However, passengers are also seeking as much proactive delivery of live departure information as possible. Access to live travel information significantly improves the customer experience and overall tolerance level.
- All those passengers who had experienced live travel information felt this had substantially improved their travelling experience. They felt that real-time information had made the timetable obsolete for the immediate journey by replacing it with information that was more accurate.
- The benefits of this were reduced anxiety about how late a bus might be and an increased sense of security and control over their journey.
While five years can seem like a lifetime in today’s fast-moving world, very little in this report seems to have changed. If we did the same research today, we believe the findings would be no different, the world over.
With that in mind, we all know what we need to do!
We need to improve the quality of information, using tools like Papercast’s Better ETA, our enhanced analytics platform that improves the accuracy of live bus arrival predictions while offering insight on service performance. It makes real-time adjustments to your existing data feeds which can be integrated with any passenger information or operations management system.
We also need to get live, accurate and consistent travel information to passengers at all stages of the journey, via websites, smart phone apps, text messaging and digital displays. This is where Papercast’s e-paper passenger information bus stop solution comes in. Our system is the most advanced on the market, with solar powered displays engineered to the optimum energy efficiency and a content management system that is generations ahead of the rest of the market.
It has never been easier to keep your passengers informed!
Get in contact to find out more.