We had a great time at the Intelligent Transport Conference with Leon Daniels, who has recently joined Optibus.
Leon interviewed some of the UK’s leading mass transport thought leaders. Here’s what they had to say:
Matthew Hudson, TfL
Hudson said: “It’s interesting to see how the market is trying to work out the congestion problem in cities, the whole planning of routes to make more efficient use of the streets that we have. I think that is one of our real challenges going forward, as a city. It’s fascinating to see the different companies trying to approach this and crack that problem”.
Asked about ridership decline in London and whether it’s reversible, Hudson said “I think we just don’t know and we’re trying to see what we can do to change that position, is it long term impact or short term impact, this is for all transit authorities to figure out where is our revenue and whether our revenue is going to be there to allow us to eventually meet customer needs”.
He also commented on the problem of air quality in cities, “how we address that is a big thorny problem, there may be some technology out there but it’s a policy thing that needs to get sorted out”.
Christian Wolmar, Author and Broadcaster
Asked about ridership, Wolmar said “if bus services improve then you’ll see more people coming back and using them. Buses have been against increased congestion and Uber… so what you need to do is to ensure that buses can get through, more bus lanes, you also need to improve the service to ensure they have wifi and plugs for their devices and all that, a modern bus, but there is no reason why you can’t attract more people to buses, it’s the best way of getting around towns and cities as long as you restrain the cars to some extent”.
John Austin, Austin Analytics
Asked what’s keeping him awake at night, Austin said: “Congestion congestion congestion and reliability and just running a service that people can rely on. The drop in ridership is reversible to an extent if we take control of road space”. He also commented on the fact that there is data in the industry but that it isn’t processed into insight: “information needs to be valuable, data is no good if you can’t understand it and that is a real challenge as well”.
The RouteOne awards
Last but not least we were very happy to sponsor the RouteOne Rising Star Award for young people that have the passion and energy to drive the public transport industry. The joint winners are Andy Turnbull, of Harrogate Bus Company, and Sean Ewan, of Mullany’s Coaches. The video includes comments by Terry Gabriel, Sean O’Shea, Leon Daniels and myself.
Hope we have the pleasure of awarding many more of these and of seeing energy, passion and innovation in our industry.