Headlines: November 17th, 1999

The Transport Secretary John Prescott has announced new national targets for bus reliability and investment and ordered operators from the public and private sector to be held accountable to passengers through regular satisfaction surveys.He says he wants buses to be used as a first choice of transport, not a last resort.

At the first ‘bus summit’ in London for representatives from the bus industry, local authorities and user groups he said that bus transport too often fell short of passenger expectations. It was plagued by poor marketing, poor quality buses, confusing networks, inflexible ticketing and constant timetable changes.

He announced extra funding of 50 million pounds on top of the one billion pounds of Government money already invested in buses each year.

He also praised the sort of initiatives that are attempting to improve uptake in bus transport, specifically the launch at the summit of the first regional public transport hotline for Yorkshire and Humberside, giving information about train and bus timetables.

The summit followed publication of the Government’s policy proposals for buses in the document ‘From Workhorse to Thoroughbred – A Better Role for Bus Travel’ published by DETR in March 1999.