Ireland’s long haul coach services are seen by passengers as punctual, reliable, comfortable and safe, according to a survey published by the EU Commission.
Read the survey results here
The survey was carried out across Europe among 28,000 respondents to evaluate customer satisfaction on inter-urban regular services. The research in Ireland was carried out by ‘Behaviour and Attitudes’, among 1,021 respondents in March of this year. Respondents were asked to rate service under a number of headings as ‘good’, ‘fair’, or ‘poor’.
Eighty four per cent of passengers in Ireland give a ‘good’ rating to their coach services. That’s the highest satisfaction rating among all EU members.
Punctuality and reliability are rated as good by 86 per cent of Irish passengers, again the highest rating reported of all countries in the survey. Austria was also on 86%, with Spain and Greece both over 80%. Just 74% of respondents in the UK rated their coaches as punctual and reliable.
Ireland ranks very well when it comes to fares and the ease of purchasing tickets, with 82% giving it a thumbs-up. Only Germany on 84% does better. This is compared to the UK where just 76% of passengers give a positive rating.
And our vehicles are rated as comfortable by 89% of passengers, putting us on top of the league in that regard.
The availability of integrated ticketing here gets a positive response, with 76% of passengers regarding it as good. Only Cyprus and Greece score higher than us in this category.
Interconnectivity with other modes of public transport is a crucial aspect of coach services in Ireland, and is rated as good by a table-topping 82% of passengers. The corresponding figure for the UK is 69%.
When Irish passengers were asked why they chose to travel on a coach, reliability (31%) and comfort and cleanliness (31%) were the most popular answers.
NTA CEO Anne Graham said: “These findings are testament to the quality of service that our long-haul coach operators provide. It is clear from this research that coach companies in this country excel when it comes to responding to customer needs. This is reflected in the increase in passenger numbers on long-haul services, as reported by NTA in recent statistical bulletins, where we saw a year-on-year increase of 11% in 2016. (see links below).
“It is also a positive reflection on the regulated competition model that operates in this country in comparison to the UK where there are little or no restrictions on operators entering the market.
“Part of our role as an Authority is the managed integration of public transport across the board, and the fact that we are the best in Europe at linking coach services to other modes is a clear indication that our approach is working.”
A Bus Éireann spokesperson said: “Expressway – as Ireland’s largest intercity coach network – very much welcomes these survey results, putting Ireland’s coaches top of the EU table.
“This is a significant achievement, and the Irish customer rating of 86% aligns with overall Expressway customer satisfaction rating of 92% – also from independent research.
“Our motto is ‘Expressway, Way better’ and we have worked hard to ensure the customers in Ireland have the best comfort, facilities and value, on our coaches and network.”
A spokesperson for the Coach Tourism and Transport Council said: “The Coach Tourism and Transport Council welcome the very positive results of the Eurobarometer Report on the attitudes of the travelling public to the use of long-haul coach services.
“CTTC members contribute significantly in providing safe, high quality, reliable and punctual services throughout Ireland and look forward to working closely with the NTA to further improve the quality of service provision and customer experience which, in turn, will result in increased use of public transport.”