The Transport team at DCC are responsible for co-ordinating the public transport services provided to residents and visitors to Devon including making public expenditure recommendations and decisons.
At a time of public sector budget cuts, the team needed data to input into its decision making about the subsidised bus services operated by the County Council. Specifically to:
- Gain quantitative data around the value of Public Transport to its users
- Understand the level of dependency that the users have on these routes
- Provide data on the frequency and purpose of the journeys made by bus users of these routes
In order to ensure a representative sample of bus users, we conducted 1,370 “on bus” self completion questionnaires (although our researchers were on hand to help and reassure passengers about the purpose of the survey).
Key routes with perceived frequent users were selected and we applied the “next person rule” in terms of interviewing as many as possible on the services we surveyed. And to cover as much of the timetable as possible, our researchers worked 2 shifts from 7am to 7pm and covered various days of the week.
The survey provided key data on the key bus users, their behaviour and the reasons for travel. It also established that over half claimed that they would not be able to make their journeys in any other way if the bus did not run with a further 38% claiming that it would not be very likely that they could continue to use an alternative mode for very long.
In total 83% of those interviewed claimed that they are “totally” or “quite” dependent on the bus service particularly the young and old age groups and those living in more rural locations.
This data helped the Transport team in their decision making and recommendations for the future of the bus services in the County.