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Agenda item

Bus Subsidy Proposals

Decision:

(a)       That the Committee recommends approval of the proposed core network of bus routes to Cabinet; and

 

(b)       That the Committee supports the withdrawal of the existing subsidised journeys and routes that are poorly used and no longer sustainable or affordable and the mitigating actions that are intended to reduce the impact of the proposals in the community currently serviced by each route.

 

Minutes:

 

The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) introduced a report to update the Committee on the proposed review of subsidised bus services and outline the proposed approach for consulting with local communities on the development of Community Transport.  He provided background information and referred to the Council’s current spend on subsidised bus services for provision that would not be commercially viable.  He reported that there was no statutory duty on the Council to provide local bus services or any other form of public transport, however, the Authority had a statutory duty to keep the bus network under review and intervene where appropriate.  He introduced Katie Wilby, Transportation and Logistics Manager, and Ceri Hansom, Integrated Transport Unit Manager, and invited them to report on the key considerations.

 

The Transportation and Logistics Manager advised that a summary of all the Council’s subsidised services and other types of bus services was appended to the report.  She  referred to the workshops which had been held to assist in identifying the core bus routes across the County and the frequency and standard of service each route should provide.  A list of the proposed core network of bus routes has been produced and a map of the core routes attached at appendix 2 to the report.  She referred to the next step for the review of service to deliver the 2016/17 savings, as detailed in the report, and advised that the final stage of the review would involve extending the arrangements to all other subsidised routes to deliver the required savings for 2017/18.

 

The Transportation and Logistics Manager advised that to assess which routes are no longer sustainable a review of the existing subsidised services, including utilisation and passenger number per journey, had been undertaken.  This had identified a number of routes or sections of routes which are not sustainable and it was recommended that the subsidy for these routes (or sections of the routes) was withdrawn from 1 April 2016.  A list of the routes (or sections of route) was provided in appendix 3.  The Transportation and Logistics Manager explained that consultation with the Town and Community Councils affected by the unsustainable routes would be undertaken and a commitment/expressions of interest sought  to take forward the development of community based transport schemes which to feed into the core network of bus routes prior to the withdrawal of the subsidy.

 

The Integrated Transport Unit Manager commented on the research undertaken to determine the provision of community transport in other areas  and explained that details of good practice elsewhere  in the County would be shared with Town and Community Councils to meet the needs of a wider group of residents.  This would ensure the development of a sustainable community transport system.  She also referred to a  series of ‘drop in’ events to be held across the County to engage with the wider community and stakeholders to explain how people can get involved in the project and what financial and other support may be available to set up new initiatives and cited car-share, community mini bus hire, and taxi services as examples.

 

The Chief Officer gave an assurance that the core routes would operate and that the Authority would work with local communities to develop more sustainable transport services for Flintshire residents.  The Transportation and Logistics Manager commented on the proposal to establish a voluntary quality partnership with commercial operators on certain corridors.

 

The Chair invited Members to ask questions. 

 

In response to the concerns raised by Councillor Clive Carver the Transportation and Logistics Manager reiterated that Transportation officers would be consulting with Town and Community Councils in early February prior to the withdrawal of any existing routes. 

 

Members asked questions regarding the amount of subsidy per passenger.  The Transportation and Logistics Manager agreed to share the relevant information with individual Members following the meeting on request.

 

Councillor Nancy Matthews commented on the proposal to develop local community transport arrangements and cited car share as an example.  She asked if information and advice would be provided to drivers about the implications for insurance.  The Integrated Transport Unit Manager explained that a number of expressions of interest had been made by individuals and groups who were keen to be involved in the project and clear and concise guidance would be provided around all aspects of local community provision.  The Chair asked who would provide the MIDAS training for volunteer drivers.  The Transportation and Logistics Manager explained that the Community Transport Association (CTA) for Wales provided some training and there is the opportunity to fund training through the community transport grant funding on a regional basis.  The Chair expressed the need for more locally based training and the Transportation and Logistics Manager agreed to look into this.

 

RESOLVED:

 

 (a)      That the Committee recommends approval of the proposed core network of bus routes to Cabinet; and

 

(b)       That the Committee supports the withdrawal of the existing subsidised journeys and routes that are poorly used and no longer sustainable or affordable and the mitigating actions that are intended to reduce the impact of the proposals in the community currently serviced by each route.

 

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