Arriva has sought the views of its customers — and non-customers — to help it shape the future specification of its UK bus fleet.
For the first time, it is seeking input from the public and from such stakeholder groups as Bus Users England, Transport Focus and Guide Dogs for the Blind, to gain an insight into passengers’ current and future needs.
‘This commitment by Arriva will allow us to have truly consumer-led development when we come to develop what is our greatest asset, our buses, ’ says marketing and new product development director Gillian Singh. ‘When the research is collated, we will be armed with fantastic insight that will inform our discussions with manufacturers to create an even more user friendly bus.’
It has undertaken some of the work at a customer and stakeholder event at its Sunderland headquarters and has also attracted around 3,000 responses online through social media and the Arriva website.
Initial results include an endorsement of the provision of free WiFi, charging and USB points — and an expectation that buses now have these features — and approval of the operation of hybrid buses, stop/start technology and low emission vehicles, as well as provision of audiovisual on-bus announcements.
Other comments were more focused on practical advances such as on-board rubbish bins, more space for luggage and shopping as well as extra space required for guide dogs.
Bus Users England director Dawn Badminton-Capps has praised Arriva’s initiative, saying: ‘It is really great to see an operator asking for proper feedback from its customers before engaging in a commercial decision.’