Smart Transport

How Liberty Bus made a success of franchising

Bus driving along road

Bus franchising powers may give regional councils hope that they can emulate London’s bus network.

Jersey is not bound by UK legislation, so when it wanted an integrated bus network, it dropped its former approach of deregulated services and invited bids for a franchised network.

Since Liberty Bus – part of social enterprise Hackney Community Transport (HCT) – started in 2013, ridership has increased from 3.5 million to 4.8 million, while public subsidy has reduced by £800,000 a year on a service with a peak vehicle requirement of about 80.

The increase in ridership is attributed to improving route frequency, adding five new routes, listening to the public’s needs and designing a network for them, delivering a reliable and punctual service and new ways to pay.

The system offers real-time information online and an ‘Avanchi’ card – from Jersey dialect, it roughly translates as “let’s go” – for prepaid journeys with online top-up.

The Avanchi card has proved particularly popular with schools. In 2013, children had a paper ticket restricted to school bus routes only. Now their Avanchi cards are acceptable on the entire network and ridership has nearly doubled (while the number of children in school has remained the same).

Liberty Bus has also had an impact on commuters. Data suggests that 57% of peak-time passengers have access to a car, but choose not to use it due to convenience, parking prices and congestion. Bus franchising powers may give regional councils hope that they can emulate London’s bus network.

Jersey is not bound by UK legislation, so when it wanted an integrated bus network, it dropped its former approach of deregulated services and invited bids for a franchised network.

Since Liberty Bus – part of social enterprise Hackney Community Transport (HCT) – started in 2013, ridership has increased from 3.5 million to 4.8 million, while public subsidy has reduced by £800,000 a year on a service with a peak vehicle requirement of about 80.

The increase in ridership is attributed to improving route frequency, adding five new routes, listening to the public’s needs and designing a network for them, delivering a reliable and punctual service and new ways to pay.

The system offers real-time information online and an ‘Avanchi’ card – from Jersey dialect, it roughly translates as “let’s go” – for prepaid journeys with online top-up.

The Avanchi card has proved particularly popular with schools. In 2013, children had a paper ticket restricted to school bus routes only. Now their Avanchi cards are acceptable on the entire network and ridership has nearly doubled (while the number of children in school has remained the same).

Liberty Bus has also had an impact on commuters. Data suggests that 57% of peak-time passengers have access to a car, but choose not to use it due to convenience, parking prices and congestion.



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