Our performance facts for the financial year starting 29th March 2015 are as follows:-
1. So far this year we have planned to operate 2,360,000 miles. Our target is to operate at least 99.8% of our mileage, and we have exceeded that target, failing to run only 2,448 miles (ie an average of one return trip per day for the whole operation). The main reason for this has been unpredictable traffic congestion, notably caused by accidents or emergency roadworks that result in extended periods of stationery traffic. There have also been some bus breakdowns and other incidents, some of which we plan to manage better in future, but lost mileage is only a quarter of the total for the previous year.
2. We are currently busily training new staff and are committed to maintaining a larger staff establishment. The market leading pay and conditions package that we offer means we have no problem finding suitable candidates, and we have now appointed an assistant to the full time training officer. We have also recruited a new Operations Manager, Andrew Cook, after Dean Robbie left us for a new job with wider responsibilities in Essex. Andrew has lived all his life in the Ipswich area and has much experience of road transport, including with the military.
3. We have reviewed the way in which we monitor punctuality and have reintroduced roadside checking of departures from key points, though mainly Tower Ramparts. This shows that we are achieving 92.35% of journeys within the 6 minute Traffic Commissioner’s “window”. This is a fairly good performance for a congested urban operation and the timetable changes introduced from 11th April will further improve matters.
4. We reviewed our approach to complaints in 2015 and are now gathering a much greater range of information including social media, not just formal written submissions. This gives us a much more useful pool of information and highlights areas of concern that we can then seek to address. About two-thirds of complaints relate to our staff and we will look to address staff performance through customer care training in 2016, along with enhancements to our vehicle telematics system to provide constructive feedback to further improve driving standards (and fuel efficiency).
5. So far this year 47 out of 48 buses passed their annual MOT at first presentation, the horn failed to sound at first attempt on the 48th and we are disappointed that this minor defect has soiled an exceptional record of which the engineering staff led by our Engineering Manager, Nigel Daniels, are especially proud. This record is all the more remarkable given the age of the fleet. Three of the existing fleet received extensive refurbishment, including the new livery and leather seats. We have bought seven well cared for buses from Lothian Buses (the municipal bus company in Edinburgh) and refurbished the four single-deckers. However, pride of the fleet are the three new Mercedes single-deckers in use on route 9 since October. We are in the process of acquiring four more new single-deckers for delivery in April.
6. There have been 173,845 hits on our website so far this year, up a third on last year. We now have 3,400 followers on Twitter which is an ideal tool for real time updates. We also have 1,300 likes on facebook which has proved to be a useful tool for further engagement.
7. We experimented with fares in 2015 and aimed to provide a better deal for regular users to make the bus a more attractive option. This has included:-
a) reducing the price of one day tickets from £4 to £3.50
b) extending the group ticket so that it is available from 1000 rather than 1500 on school days
c) introducing a new “Quids In and Out” ticket for £2 to the town centre to help promote the evening and Sunday economy in Ipswich Central
d) special summer return for £2 on targeted routes
We have however increased the price of £1.80 single to £1.90 after about 7 years (it’s been £1.80 for so long we’re still trying to find records of the last change) and ended the promotions of Sunday happy hour free travel and Quids In singles.
8. New timetables have been introduced from 11th April 2016, and a great deal of work has been put into designing times that compensate for the problems of known traffic congestion so that buses can still operate punctually. From 29th February a single replacement journey has been provided in each direction from Stratford Court and Larchcroft Road to the town centre.
9. Carter’s Coaches Ltd has announced that we are in the process of agreeing to purchase the business and we look forward to adding these well known inter-urban routes to our operation.
If you require any further information on Ipswich Buses and our operations please contact us at 7 Constantine Road Ipswich IP1 2DL, by phoning 0800 919390 or e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org