Bus Service Information. September 2021
Updated: Sep 13, 2021
Geoff Lusher, Chairman of the Midland Branch of the Omnibus Society opens a recent branch bulletin with an article highlighting the differences in level of expenditure on public transport infrastructure between shire counties and the West Midlands Combined Authority. He takes as an example his own shire county of Staffordshire.
Here he states: "Staffordshire’s policy apparently being that it is up to the operator to provide such vital information. Most stop signs are dirty, and many are damaged. The very few shelters are provided by parish councils. This sorry state of affairs continues to Lichfield Bus Station where no overall departure information is displayed and intending passengers are left to find their desired service with six different operators serving the station." On the other hand, Herefordshire has a good record of displaying timetable information at the many bus stops throughout the county. This is very important for those wishing to use the bus, especially following cessation of the publication of the much valued timetable books covering the county some years ago.
Not everyone has access to the internet and in some rural places there is still no coverage. People can often be seen wandering up to the local bus stop to find the times of buses. The Herefordshire Council website states Herefordshire bus information is held on the Traveline website where you can plan your journey and search for bus timetables. But Traveline West Midlands will cease to exist at the end of September.
Geoff Lusher further indicates that the quality of bus service infrastructure and information has a long term effect on patronage and that a first priority of shire counties Bus Service Improvement Plans must be to achieve a high standard of passenger welcome and access to bus service information. Devon Council is a model example of what can be achieved where there is a comprehensive series of timetable information books available as both e books and hard copy for purchase.
Hot foot on the superb initiative of free weekend fares, Herefordshire Council may well wish to consider providing a dedicated easy to use timetable information service for the county as part of its website. The information is already there in order to update bus stop timetable cases. This would be an essential part of any partnerships with operators to boost bus usage.