Birmingham City Council bus survey – have your say?

Birmingham City Council (BCC) are currently undertaking a bus survey to find out the reasons why more people are not choosing to travel by bus throughout the city.

They are looking for feedback, opinions and comments from anyone who either does travel by bus or doesn’t, and I would urge anyone in Birmingham to take part and have their say.

However, having taken part in the survey myself, I’m not really sure what the survey results are going to tell the council, as some of the questions are a bit vague and wishy-washy. Its only when you get to the end, where there is a free-text box, that you can really express your opinions.

Having read a number of comments from people commenting on BCC’s own Facebook posts, as well as on the WMBU Facebook page where I shared their post, I would ask people taking part to remember a couple of key points.

Birmingham City Council don’t operate any bus services. While concerns about cleanliness of vehicles, punctuality of services and passenger safety do regularly get mentioned, and are well worth pointing out or mentioning in your comments, there is actually very little that BCC can do about these issues.

Well, apart from one, which is ‘punctuality of services’. The main reason why bus services can be unreliable is due to traffic congestion, and this is due to two factors:

  1. Constant roadworks and ‘improvement’ schemes, which see roads closed, traffic diverted, as well as ‘temporary’ lane closures that restrict traffic flow.
  2. A failure to include ‘bus priority measures’ when planning and undertaking these roadworks and ‘improvement’ schemes.

If the survey just consists of loads of people complaining about ‘dirty’ buses, all BCC can do is take that feedback back to the bus operators, because there will be “nothing we can do about this”.

Buses are ‘dirty’ and cluttered with litter, because some people are dirty and think its acceptable to leave rubbish on bus seats and floors. I bet they wouldn’t like it if I came round their house and left my half-eaten chicken legs on their sofa!

Buses are ‘unsafe’ because there is a minority of people who have absolutely no respect for other people and their property, as well as common law. Again, I wonder how they’d like it if I came round their house and started carving my name into their coffee table, or living room window, took a piss on their kitchen floor and then set fire to their sofa.

The main problem with buses would appear to be other people. The majority of people who use buses are generally ‘decent’ people just doing what they need to do. The vast majority of bus journeys throughout the city pass without incident. Travelling by bus isn’t ‘unsafe’. The occasional unsavoury incident reported in the local media is dwarfed by the uneventful journeys that do not get reported on.

However, where we need to challenge BCC, is where people get put off from travelling on buses, because of unreliability caused by other traffic congestion, caused by roadwork schemes being badly planned out and undertaken by BCC.

Have your say, and take part in the survey, by clicking here.

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