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Caithness Partnership Bus Passenger Survey

13th October 2008

A survey of over 300 bus users in Caithness was carried out during this summer by Caithness Partnership in conjunction with Stagecoach and showed that Caithness people felt the service could be improved with more frequent buses and better timetabling, better access to vehicles for less physically able people and more services in the rural areas of the county.

Caithness Partnership
Bus Passenger Survey in Conjunction With Stagecoach in Caithness

Question 1
On Average how often do you use your local bus service?
Few Times per week 96
Less Often 77
Few Times per month 66
Never 60
Daily 47
Not disclosed 11
Total Number Responses 357

Question 2
What prevents you from using the bus more often?

Don't operate at suitable times 139
Don't serve where I need to travel to/from 87
Happy with local bus services 69
Buses not comfortable 66
Buses not reliable 59
Not aware of appropriate services 57
Fares are too expensive 52
Not wheelchair/buggy friendly 39
No response 22

Other Comments
3/4 mile from bus stop
no need to travel on bus
No evening or Sunday buses in county
Disabled steps too high, would travel if I could get on them
Steps in most buses creates a great and dangerous disadvantage to the elderly and disabled.
Smaller local buses - long distance 2008 so they are more comfy
Buses more up-to-date
New vehicle stock. More services
Timetables at bus stops out of date
Why has Wick to Inverness buses no toilets?
First bus 1.30pm
Buses are too much time in between i.e. one bus to/from Thurso - 2hrs
Don't operate at suitable times on Saturday from Pulteneytown to Wick
Wick>Inverness journey too long. No connection with Trains and air
Saturday & Sunday service 4 hrs between buses
Drive too fast for roads
No service from Lybster to Wick on Sundays
Need car to put shopping in rather than carrying it
Can't get service for working in Wick
Give timetables which they stick to
By some of the drivers being more helpful and mannerly, some of their attitudes need changing.
Buses not clean
Buses do not provide suitable connections with train at Helmsdale
Too old, heating not working, windows dirty
No Evening service
We have no bus service
Timetable difficult to remember especially Thurso>Wick - no consistent time e.g. on hour/half hour - every bus different
Need car to go to other parts of town and to carry shopping home
Some of newer buses don't have enough leg room
Not dog friendly
Want to use bus but have arthritis and can't climb into bus - step too high
We have no bus service - give us a bus Gillock to Wick & Thurso once a week at least
hard seats, poor quality backs, steel bars at head
uncomfortable for people with injuries to legs/back

Question 3.
How do you feel the bus services in Caithness could be improved?
More buses early morning/late afternoon/evening (& to suit working hours) 76
More buses Saturday/Sunday 71
Improved disabled access (2 friends have fallen)/child friendly/wheelchair access/shopper friendly 57
More services to smaller villages/rural areas 35
Time tables at main bus stops & available for visitors and locals elsewhere 31
Improved connecting times 29
Invest in new buses 28
Cheaper fares (monthly saver tickets) 24
Smaller buses instead of coaches 23
Happy with Service/keep present services/drivers are an excellent bunch 8
Publicity to encourage more passengers 8
Improved service in Reay/ Forss area 7
Improved service in Wick (missed 3 appointments bus late) 6
Toilet on Wick>Inverness buses/ all buses 6
Buses usually leave before stated time or arrive late 5
Buses to arrive on time (cold waiting in Winter) 5
More bus stops & shelters along the route throughout county 5
Clean & tidy buses 4
Timetable buses to suit trains and ferries - day trips to Orkney & John O'Groats 4
Some drivers being more helpful, mannerly, change their attitudes 4
Sunday service to John O'Groats - especially tourist season 4
Bus to Inverness passing through Watten and Halkirk 4
Daily return bus to Tongue (with longer than 10 min. stop) 3
Mega bus to Inverness - express link 3
958 needs to be supplemented by non-stop service to Inverness 2
Buses from Dunnet to Wick - better service for rural areas of county 2
Separate/extra bus at school times 2
Drivers aware of new stops/ stop for people at road ends - not fly past them 2
Good service from Berriedale 2
Saturday bus Berriedale/Wick to catch Inverness bus return 2
Improved service between Thurso and Lochshell Dental Clinic in Wick 2
No bus service in Gillock - return sprinter service twice weekly with 2-3 hr stop in Wick/Thurso 2
Don't make return journey 10 minutes after arrival in town 1
Increase frequency Wick>Thurso service 1
Send out timetable to residents in Dunbeath please 1
Connection to Aberdeen without going to Perth 1
Faster Inverness service - no stops Dornoch, Invergordon,Alness etc. Extra stop Tall pines, Kildary 1
ban drunken teenagers and their loud music 1
Bus to suit John O'Groats Ferry and Gills Ferry from Thurso 1
bus driver to stop playing loud music 1
more buses going over Causeway Mire 1
Room for improvement on less busy routes 1
An office where you can go to find out where buses leave from and route Wick>Thurso 1
Study survey done by Community Council 2008 1
Bus to Lyth Arts Centre during tourist season - could be small bus 1
It would be nice if 10am Scrabster bus reached Thurso in time to catch 10.10 to Wick instead of seeing back of it 1
Run school bus service through holidays 1
Late night bus up East coast 1
Bus stop removed from Castlegreeen road some months ago - please replace it 1
Timetables in bus shelters are either wrong or are not updated. Some areas do not have any 1
Come down through village of Lybster on some journeys 1
More buses to/from Castletown and late evening & through to Wick (some buses Castletown/Thurso only) 1
New Housing developments need good reliable service, well advertised 1
Service - What service? There is none - virtually in the rural areas 1
Regular hourly service, bus service diabolical in evenings and Saturdays 1
Better services Berriedale/Wick return. Likewise services Castletown/John O'Groats 1st bus 2pm from Wick 1
If buses fail to turn up travellers should be informed immediately so other arrangements can be made. 1
If weekend return bus available from Reay to Thurso we could go into town to do shopping 1
Use smaller buses on country routes 1
Hourly buses running between Wick & Thurso. First bus Wick>Castletown 13.10 1
Bus leaving Thurso Business Park at 17.05 1
Too many buses with no passengers 1
Bus from Staxigoe afternoons either 14.02 or 16.42 - one about 15.00 would be good 1
More 12 seater buses 1
Don't think it can be improved 1
It will only improve if there is a demand - at present majority rely on their car 1
Notify passengers about changes - not good enough when customer has to take taxi to destination. 1
Sunday service to John O'Groats 1
We see buses passing but don't know where, from or to 1
Advising drivers new stops Inverness>Thurso. Timetable incorrect and some drivers never heard 1
Apart from 07.14 train service Inverness>Wick, buses should provide suitable connections at Helmsdale Railway 1
Station for passengers who wish to travel to/from Wick/Lybster/Dunbeath and Lairg/Dingwall/Inverness
Bus stop at Lochshell dental surgery and bus service to link in with Tesco service 1
To be able to travel to Wick from Iverness and return same day - good for tourists too 1
Sensible fares & timings to suit working hours - used service to/from work for 3 months recently - awful
Working in Wick Industrial Estate/ cannot get bus from Lybster at 6.30am or home at 8.30pm have to have taxi 1
Air conditioning that works
Timetables that are easier to remember
No suitable bus service to/from Homebase Retail Park where there is no caf 1
A service giving an hour at Tesco would be great 1
Would use more if earlier bus North could be caught; leaving Inverness 7 or 7.30 1
A later bus from Inverness and earlier from Inverness to Wick/Thurso 1
More frequent quicker travelling time to Wick/Inverness 2

Question 4.
Please rate your overall level of satisfaction

Satisfied 88
Undecided/No opinion 82
Dissatisfied 81
Very dissatisfied 45
Very satisfied 32
No response 29
Total 357

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