If you are dreading travelling on the roads as the children go back to school then perhaps you should thank a certain bus company – without which it would be a lot worse.
It might only launch an extra 12 buses across its patch to cope with the increase in demand, but Stagecoach West sees its passenger numbers swell across its regular services to astonishing levels.
September, not surprisingly, is its busiest month. Okay, it is not all school traffic, but imagine if its 265 buses running each weekday carrying over two million passengers per month stopped and everyone travelled by car.
Parents once concerned with the downsides of their loved-ones carrying cash to pay for their bus journey to school or college have also seen the Gloucester-headquartered bus company introduce contactless payments.
Miriam Luff, marketing manager at Stagecoach West, which serves Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, South Gloucestershire and South Herefordshire, said: “We all recognise increased traffic congestion when the schools go back, but the bus services we provide help alleviate some of that congestion.
“When you consider the of the number of cars bus travel helps keep off the road, coupled with the increasing concern with air pollution, we believe our investment in more efficient, greener buses is also having a positive impact on people’s quality of life.
“As for contactless payments – we introduced it for convenience, speed and security for passengers and it’s proved popular. Since launching in November 2017 there have been 715,000 contactless payments on our buses.”
When the contactless system was revealed in November Rupert Cox, managing director of Stagecoach West, said: “The roll out of contactless payments on our buses has involved a major investment for Stagecoach but we believe the benefits for our customers are overwhelming.”
Earlier this year the company also announced £2.5 million investment in a fleet of luxury Stagecoach Gold buses, complete with free on board Wi-Fi and USB charging points for customers and cleaner, quieter Euro 6 engines – designed to cut emissions.
Earlier this month, the company announced a further £3 million investment in a fleet of 12 more of the luxury Gold service.