Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Ways to improve bus quality and public transport information

- To improve the quality of the bus service in Winchester.
- To improve the quality of information regarding bus services.
- To integrate public transport services.
- To contribute to an 8% increase in bus patronage and satisfaction of public transport.

The 1999 MORI residents survey showed that public transport in general, and local bus services in particular, were of great concern to the residents of Hampshire. MIRACLES aimed to improve the local bus service and make public transport a more appealing option for those wishing to travel in or around Winchester.

Description of the implementation
At the start of the project major improvements, including bus priority signals, were made to the bus-rail interchange at Winchester Railway Station, to allow closer integration of public transport services.

A Quality Bus Partnership (QBP) covering Services 1, 5 and Park and Ride (P+R) was agreed between the local bus operator Stagecoach, Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council, in September 2003. The QBP sought Stagecoach s support in implementing MIRACLES public transport objectives.

To support the QBP, 76 new bus stop poles and flags were installed on the cross-city routes of Services 1 and 5. New bus shelters were installed at stops with the highest passenger demand. Bus stops on Services 1, 5 and P+R were also equipped with stop specific timetables and maps. Thirteen new buses were introduced on Services 1 and 5, allowing frequency to increase to every ten minutes on Service 5. In addition, the existing P+R facility was extended to provide 420 additional spaces. Frequency in peak hours was increased, to 7-8 minutes and operational hours were extended to nine o�clock in the evening, on a six month trial. A cross-city route, operating between the P+R car parks and several major employers on the opposite side of the side of the city, was also trialled for seven months. It was hoped that these improvements would encourage a wider range of people entering Winchester to use bus facilities.

A total of 10,000 Winchester PT Plus pocket travel maps, designed by Quickmap Limited, were distributed in November 2003, and updated in September 2004. The map includes details of bus, rail, and National Express coach services, along with opening times of city centre attractions. A detailed city centre map has been included to enable users to travel around the city on foot, as well as by public transport.

Key Findings
On the three key routes covered by the MIRACLES QBP patronage increased by an average of 12% from the start of the QBP, although with substantial variation between routes (X1; -6%, X5: +25%, P+R +42%). Two non-MIRACLES control routes saw an average decrease in patronage of 6%.

Passenger satisfaction ratings on the MIRACLES routes were very high, with 87% of passengers rating the service as good or very good.

Punctuality also improved, with the number of early or late bus journeys reducing from 0.95% in 2002/03 to 0.34% in 2004/05.

The new cross city P+R service was abandoned at the end of the trial because it attracted too few passengers.

The measures implemented, such as the QBP and improvements to public transport infrastructure and information, are expected to continue beyond the lifetime of the project.

Reported by

Highways and Transport Policy
SO23 8UD Winchester
United Kingdom
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