When it comes to bus facilities, however, bus users are slightly less critical of the city’s services. According to Bristol City Council’s Quality of Life Survey, almost seven in ten Bristolians (65%) think that the condition of bus stops and bus shelters are generally good, however these feelings of satisfaction fall to just over half (52%) of participants when asked for their opinion on the information available about local bus services. Although we’ve seen that delays to people’s bus journeys are a source of dissatisfaction, it’s important to point out that delays vary from the day to day and from time to time. While many bus drivers start off their day perfectly on time at 7am, delays start mounting during the morning rush-hour and the knock-on effect of these early hold-ups continues throughout the day to reach a peak at 6pm.
If you’re needing to use bus services on a Monday, you’re likely to find that services are the most punctual on this day of the week. However, come Friday, bus users should be wary to leave themselves plenty of time for delays, as data suggests the end of the working week produces more late buses than any other period.
From this, we can see that there is still a long way to go to improving the city’s bus services and, likewise, boosting customer satisfaction. Although there has been an increase in bus usage over the last few years, Bristol lags far behind comparable cities such as London, Nottingham, Brighton, Reading and others across the country. As the city looks at ways in which public bus services could be improved in the midst of struggles with congestion and air pollution, it may be worth Bristol looking to these cities for some inspiration in the months and years to come.
Simone Grassi, Bristol Is Open
Annual Bus Statistic Report, Department of Transport
Quality of Life Survey-Bus services, Bristol City Council’s Open Data portal