Bus quality incentive contracts

MQT on 2009-11-18
Session date: 
November 18, 2009
Question By: 
Darren Johnson
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What improvements were sought with the introduction of bus quality incentive contracts and what were the problems which these improvements hoped to rectify? Have punctuality, cleanliness and customer service improved as a result of introducing these quality contracts?


Answer for Bus quality incentive contracts

Answer for Bus quality incentive contracts

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Quality Incentive Contracts (QICs) were progressively introduced from summer 2001, as routes were retendered. They introduced a financial incentive in respect of the reliability of the services, as this is the key aspect of service delivery for passengers. At that time, the reliability had been deteriorating for a number of years.

The majority of services are high frequency and their reliability is measured by excess waiting time (EWT), i.e. the actual waiting time minus the waiting time expected if buses ran exactly at the intervals scheduled. There has been a very significant improvement in reliability since the introduction of Quality Incentive Contracts, with EWT falling from 2.1 minutes in 2000/01 to 1.1 minutes currently. This is the best level of performance since monitoring of reliability in this format commenced over thirty years ago.

Although QICs are the key measure behind the reliability improvements which have been achieved, this has been supported by other measures such as central London congestion charging and bus priority.

Over the course of the last year, two further areas were chosen for financial incentivisation in a pilot scheme known as QICs 2. These were vehicle presentation and service delivery by drivers. Although these schemes have resulted in some further improvements in performance, given the current financial constraints that TfL is facing, it has been decided not to carry forward this aspect of incentivisation beyond the end of the current pilots.

TfL continues to demands high standards from the bus operating companies in all aspects of service delivery, and continues to monitor their performance.