Transdev in northern England is inviting its customers, business and political leaders to have their say in mapping its journey beyond the pandemic with the launch of its own plan for growth in 2021 and beyond.
To kick-start a new debate on the future direction of transportation in northern England, Transdev has produced “Build Buses Back Better”, a 28-page prospectus which sets out a blueprint to create innovative, integrated bus networks at the heart of a post-pandemic economic and social revival in the North’s urban and rural communities.
Its brochure is being mailed to over 200 key decision makers and business leaders across the region served by Transdev’s branded bus operations, from central Lancashire to the Yorkshire Coast.
2020 has of course been the year of COVID-19, which has produced unprecedented challenges for us as a leading bus operator – which I’m proud to say we continue to battle through, thanks to our amazing customers and colleagues. But as we approach 2021 with a real prospect of an end to the current restrictions, it’s time to turn our eyes to the future and the opportunities ahead.
The Prime Minister’s New Deal sets out to tackle unresolved challenges, and in his own words, to ‘Build Back Better’. We want to build buses back better too, using our track record of success in growing bus networks and Transdev’s worldwide multi-modal expertise – but across Britain there’s an inconsistent picture, with isolated pockets of growth and limited policy support and investment in infrastructure to help buses provide an answer to issues such as pollution and congestion.
As a pioneer in our industry using new technology to provide low and zero emission buses, we have a positive track record of success in growing bus usage through investment, a high-quality product and marketing. We believe 2021 can be a year of unique opportunities for the bus – and now is the time to start a conversation about this comeback and how we make the most of it.
Alex Hornby, CEO of Transdev in northern England
Transdev’s ‘Build Buses Back Better’ brochure sets out its priorities for action in 2021 and beyond, to help buses make sure the North’s cities and towns enjoy the benefits of improved economic and social well-being. Its suggestions include:
- Free flowing – more priority bus measures to make the bus the most reliable option for urban travel, integrated with the active travel modes of cycling, scooters, walking and ‘at stop’ park & ride, using new facilities built alongside existing bus services to join fast and frequent buses direct to city and town centers.
- Going green – Transdev’s electric buses in Harrogate helped to create the UK’s first Low Emissions Bus Town, with Government support. The bus firm says more zero and low emission zones are the way ahead, with controls on polluting private car use in line with the Government’s Decarbonizing Transportation policy. It argues for support for bus firms prepared to lead the way, alongside measures to control those who fail to act.
- Working together – Transdev points to its expertise gained by delivering fully commercial services, among them the 36 – its Ripon and Harrogate to Leeds service, hailed as one of the stand-out success stories of the UK’s bus network; private and multi-party partnerships, including its VAMOOZ demand-driven services to local schools and large employers; and its three-way partnership with West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds Bradford Airport to build and expand its recently-launched Flyer bus network. It says co-operation with key organizations can deliver best value for money, whether in a fully deregulated network or via franchises awarded by local authorities. The bus firm also suggests a third way where appropriate, involving a service level agreement with a resource lock and investment program in place, with delivery managed by a Bus Board led jointly by bus operators and local authorities.
- Driving up standards – Transdev advocates a national minimum customer service standard for bus services, giving customers guarantees on what to expect and driving up standards across the country. It also says national bus driver training schemes should refocus on the customer – while the Bus Service Operators’ Grant paid by Government to bus operators should pay more to firms who attract more customers on-board successful routes.
Transdev says if just one percent of car journeys switch to bus travel after the pandemic, bus journeys would rise by 19%.
Its prospectus calls for targeted price reductions, such as for young people moving from education to employment, alongside incentives for employers to support their employees who make sustainable travel choices, including the bus. Transdev also suggests offering incentives when people move home or start in education or a new job could persuade more to choose the bus.