Purpose of this charter
The purpose of this Bus Passenger Charter is to improve bus services across Somerset. This charter has been created in partnership between Somerset Council and local bus operators, bus users, and stakeholders. It covers all locally registered bus and coach services provided by all operators across Somerset, including any services operated on a flexible or demand-responsive basis and most services provided by Community Transport where they are operated under S22 of the 1985 Transport Act.
This Bus Passenger Charter establishes a consistent standard for all bus services to meet (including punctuality, proportion of services operated, vehicle cleanliness and, information), sets out what passengers can expect from bus operators delivering local bus services across Somerset, and gives bus users the ability to hold all partners to account to the commitments we make to you below.
This Charter sets out passenger rights and a collective commitment from Somerset Council and local bus operators to work together to provide services which meet all passenger needs, which are measurable against the council’s Bus Service Improvement Plan targets.
As a partnership we commit to deliver the following service standards to you, ensuring:
- All bus journeys are operated as advertised and adhere to published timetables and routes.
- We provide timely service disruption information including the impacts of any roadworks through all reasonable communication channels.
- That your journey is reliable and safe.
- That you travel on vehicles which are clean, comfortable, and accessible to all.
- That all buses required to comply with Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations do so.
- We provide recognisable bus stops with up-to-date information where infrastructure allows.
- All bus stops are accessible, free from damage once this is reported, and safe to use.
- We do all we can to discourage unreasonable behaviour by other passengers on the bus.
- We make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the individual needs of passengers.
- All customer-facing staff receive customer and disability awareness training at least bi-annually.
- All buses display route information, including a route number, destination, and staging points wherever possible
- All information provided for passengers being as accurate, relevant, and accessible as possible;
- All electronic (online) information will be in date, clear, and easily printable and viewable.
- All timetable and journey planning information is provided through the following channels:
- The Somerset Think Travel portal, and Somerset Council and bus operator social media platforms and apps.
- Operator websites that adopt the principles of accessible web design.
- At bus stops, shelters, and interchanges where facilities exist to display information.
- We also ensure there are different ways to pay for your journey including cash, contactless, and via operator apps.
- Bus operators provide a range of value-for-money tickets that are easy to understand.
- We introduce processes and systems that help make staff aware of travellers with disabilities.
- Information relating to the carriage of wheelchairs, prams, and buggies buggies is available from each operators conditions of carriage.
Bus travel and the continuing improvement of the local bus network is a partnership process. We believe that this also includes our passengers and feel that you can make a difference too, by:
- Respecting bus drivers and their requests, other staff and your fellow passengers.
- Reporting damage to buses, bus stops, or bus shelters to help us know what we need to repair by letting us know through the channels listed below in ‘Beyond Your Journey’.
- Clearly signalling to the bus driver that you want to board when waiting at a bus stop.
- Having your pass, ticket or payment ready as you board to help keep buses running on time.
- Keeping your bus clean by not putting feet on seats and taking your litter home with you.
- Allowing wheelchair users to occupy the dedicated wheelchair spaces when they need them.
- Sitting whenever possible and not standing at the front of the bus, blocking others and distracting the driver.
- Ringing the bell in advance of when you want to get off the bus.
- Staying seated or holding onto the handrails while the vehicle is moving at all times.