A raft of improvements to bus journeys – designed to ensure the best possible experience for passengers – have been pledged by operators across North Lincolnshire.
The council, Stagecoach, Hornsby Travel and East Yorkshire Buses have signed a charter which commits to provide routes to key communities, to fair and transparent ticketing, and people travelling in comfort and safety on reliable services which are accessible to everyone.
Cllr Tim Mitchell, cabinet member for connectivity at North Lincolnshire Council, said: “Passengers rightly expect a safe, comfortable, connected, experience across the network – no matter who they are travelling with or where there are going.
“This charter is a commitment to those standards, ensuring everyone who provides a service here in North Lincolnshire commits to ensuring passengers can plan their journey with confidence, they can enjoy a safe and comfortable waiting environment, that the buses are clean, well maintained and they turn up – and arrive at their destination – on time.
“These are not things passengers should be expected to compromise upon, which is why we are setting out a number of ways people can get in touch and help us uphold these high standards.”
A new passenger forum is to be set up, with users and community champions invited to attend to help shape new services and improve existing ones.
Cllr Mitchell said: “We are committed to the continuous improvement of bus transport across North Lincolnshire, to using taxpayers’ money wisely to provide services which the market cannot sustain and ensuring passengers are part of developing the experience going forward.
“There has never been a better excuse to use bus services across the area, with new pilot routes being established by the council, a commitment to ensure enhanced travel passes are available and the Government’s scheme to cap all journeys at £2.”
Karl Robinson, general manager, Hornsbys Bus & Coach, said: “As we work in partnership with Stagecoach East Midlands, East Yorkshire Buses, and North Lincolnshire Council to create an enhanced partnership, this brings a sense of optimism and excitement to the future of public transport in North Lincolnshire as we work together to bring ‘bus back better’.”
Richard Kay, operations director at Stagecoach East Midlands, added: “We’re delighted to sign up to the bus charter, this demonstrates our commitment to running safe, clean and punctual buses at great value prices.”
The council has recently re-committed to protecting enhanced free travel for more than 22,000 older and disabled people – a £1.8m scheme which has been in place since 2017.
The scheme extends the time the thousands of people eligible – those who have reached state pension age, disabled residents and their carers – can travel for free or at discounted rates to enable them to get out and about and live independently.
Using Government cash, every council in the country provides free travel between 9.30am and 11pm, Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and bank holidays but in North Lincolnshire the enhanced concessionary fare scheme includes free or discounted travel every day before 9.30am on journeys within or from North Lincolnshire.
Additionally, two pilot bus routes have been launched, connecting communities across the Isle of Axholme and through the Low Villages between Barton and Brigg.