Through the month of June we surveyed our customers on their experience in travelling with us on our buses. The Company wishes to thank the public for their response and the amount of helpful feedback we received.
This was the first formal survey the company has done and was a precedent to a survey that will be undertaken by the Department of Transport in 2012. The objective was to gain insight into the current level of satisfaction with various attributes of the services provided by BMBC and also gather information to use as part of the company’s focus on continuous improvement. The survey was also designed to determine what the public might be looking for as a part of the public transport experience in the Blue Mountains with a view to continuously improving that transport experience and also implementing patronage growth strategies.
The survey was offered to the local community via a web based survey and also via a replied paid envelope paper survey. Some face-face surveys were also conducted at bus stops and on the bus. The existence of the survey and the web address was advertised in the local papers and the questions used in the survey reflected the questions used by the Department of Transport in their surveys. The survey did not encompass SSTS services.
We distributed 750 replied paid surveys and 221 were returned. This represents a response rate of 30% which can be considered a very high response rate. As expected, the uptake of the web based survey option was lower with 16 respondents. The high response rate from the replied paid envelopes gave us a good representative sample of our customers. Over 90 % of respondents use our services more than once a week, with 50% using our services 4 or more days per week.
Nearly 90% of those surveyed use the bus as the main form of transport in their household. This was followed by the train at 40%. Therefore, we can assume that we have a representative sample of those who rely on public transport as their main form of transport.
The main purpose in using our services was for shopping, with 58% of respondents. This was followed by travel between work and home with 23%.
Survey Results by service aspect
One of our core objectives is that we strive to create an exceptional experience for our customers when they travel with us. This experience encompasses more than just the trip on the bus – it includes the time spent finding out about their travel, getting to their bus stop, the bus stop, getting on the bus, the bus trip itself including interaction with the driver and getting off the bus.
Based on the survey scores and the comments received, we are creating this exceptional experience more often than not.
Clearly, the travelling public have a very high level of satisfaction with our drivers and those drivers should be highly commended.
Our challenge is to maintain and continue to improve this high level of customer experience.
From an operational perspective, we need to further explore the aspects relating to frequency of service and connection with other transport modes. This will be done in context of other operational data including patronage data and route profitability. While we acknowledge that it is not possible to satisfy every individual request, there appears to be weight of evidence that these two aspects require further analysis.
We received many written comments with respect to drivers, bus shelters, the buses and the timetables and these are being taken into consideration as part of an operational review.
We also will be looking at strategies to increase patronage on the buses, particularly commuters and younger passengers.