New research focuses on buses using motorways and major ‘A’ roads

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The research spoke to bus passengers in Brighton and Bristol. TRANSPORT FOCUS

Transport Focus has published new research which looks at how motorways and major roads can be made better for bus passengers and bus companies

Independent transport watchdog, Transport Focus, has spoken to bus passengers and bus companies in Bristol and Brighton to understand what they think about bus services, existing bus priority measures and what future improvements would help.

Buses on Highways England’s Roads: meeting the needs of passengers and bus companies, published on 19 December 2019, looks at how Highways England can better meet the needs of these road users. The research found the M32 and A27 have a positive impact on bus journeys and these stretches of roads can be the best part of bus routes. Passengers in Bristol and Brighton said that congestion on or approaching Highways England’s roads was their greatest concern when using these services.

Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “Passengers and bus companies tell us Highways England’s network is often the fastest, smoothest part of their bus journey but congestion has considerable impact on the day-to-day lives of those who use buses.

“Congestion is clearly being felt by bus passengers. This research should help Highways England understand these concerns and better meet the needs of these customers. “Transport Focus looks forward to seeing the improvements for bus passengers and operators as part of Highways England’s proposed investment plans.”

Transport Focus is calling for Highways England to:

  • implement a range of improvements which help bus companies run punctual, reliable services which passengers can trust;
  • develop a minimum standard for bus stops on its roads and upgrade those not meeting that standard as quickly as possible;
  • look to minimise the impact on timetables during disruption, whether caused by planned roadworks, an event or an accident; and
  • partnering with bus companies and local authorities to pilot ‘try the bus’ initiatives, so that some current car users choose bus for some or all of their trips in future.

Transport Focus hopes this research will help Highways England strengthen its relationships with bus companies running services on motorways and major ‘A’ roads; with councils managing adjacent highway networks; and with sub-national transport bodies to deliver improvements for passengers. The full case studies can be read at www.transportfocus.org.uk