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Users 'less satisfied' with buses

Published 30/04/2015

Satisfaction with the service in Ulsterbus stations is at an all-time low, according to the Consumer Council
Satisfaction with the service in Ulsterbus stations is at an all-time low, according to the Consumer Council

Customer satisfaction with bus services in Northern Ireland has reached a six-year low, the Consumer Council said.

Service and cleanliness ratings reduced while opinions about Ulsterbus stations hit an all-time low.

The audit office recently said morning rush hour bus speeds on main routes in Belfast fell by a fifth due to time spent at kerbsides picking up increased passenger numbers.

Scott Kennerley, head of transport policy at the Council, said: "Not only has overall customer satisfaction fallen but passenger ratings for customer service/staff helpfulness, driver helpfulness and cleanliness have also reduced when compared to the last two set of results, with the exception of customer service on Metro.

"Satisfaction with the service in Ulsterbus stations is at an all-time low."

Translink exceeded performance targets for service reliability, achieving a 100% score across NI Railways, Ulsterbus and Metro, according to independent research published on Thursday.

NI Railways and Metro also met on-time targets with rail attaining scores of 98% for punctuality of local services and 99% for long haul. However, Ulsterbus punctuality, while still at a high level, dipped slightly below target, Translink said.

The transport firm's marketing executive Ciaran Rogan said: "The results however, have flagged some areas of concern in terms of cleanliness and staff helpfulness on bus.

"Over recent years customer satisfaction has steadily increased so we have been disappointed to see a dip particularly in the Ulsterbus results at stations.

"We will be closely reviewing our training and communications with front line employees over the coming months. We will refocus our efforts to turn this around so customers get the level of service they deserve."

He said NI Railways continues to perform very well and customers continue to be pleased with the service and the levels of comfort and staff helpfulness.

Metro service punctuality has also improved and Translink said it had worked hard to address issues caused by city centre congestion. Improvements in value for money scores were also recorded across the business.

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