Bus Network Review Update
- Meeting of Cabinet, Tuesday, 22nd September, 2020 9.30 am (Item 14.)
- View the background to item 14.
As detailed in the recommendation.
Councillor Thomas introduced the report and explained that the Council had no legal obligation to provide local bus services or any other form of public transport. However, the Council did have a statutory duty to keep the bus network under review and to intervene where it feels appropriate.
It had been a priority of Flintshire Council to endeavour to maintain a public bus transport service as the impact of losing them would affect the most vulnerable in society. In July 2018, Cabinet approved a new transport model for bus services comprising of a core bus network supported by sustainable Local Transport Arrangements (LTA). The Core Network included a number of key destinations also known as hubs, such as towns or public transport interchanges and railway stations with direct, high frequency bus services operating between the hubs to link passengers to other key destination hubs for access to education, employment, shopping, health, social and leisure opportunities. The core network predominantly consisted of commercial bus services; however, some support had continued to be provided to ensure that connections were maintained and that regular, high quality services continued to link the key hubs along the network. That core network was supported by sustainable LTAs which had been successfully introduced in several areas of the county.
As more commercial services have been withdrawn by operators a review of the existing LTA services became necessary to ensure those services could be better used to provide vital transport links for residents impacted by the loss of these commercial services. The Covid-19 situation had greatly hindered the review of the LTAs. Since lockdown ended, there had been a need to mitigate reduced passenger numbers on vehicles and issue revised timetables to accommodate passenger requirements, which appeared to be working well. Although in the recovery stage, operators had reported a rise in confidence among transport users.
A review of LTA services in Holywell and the surrounding communities was due to start soon, including trialling the Fflecsi Demand Responsive Transport service which was also being trialled in neighbouring Denbighshire and other areas of Wales.
Councillor Thomas was pleased to report that the Council had been successful in securing Welsh Government (WG) funding for two electric buses to be used on the LT7 and LT4 services. They would be stationed at Buckley and those vehicles would be powered by the Council’s own solar energy source.
The Council’s review of LTAs continued to be an ongoing process and further proposals were currently being explored for the coming months. It was also a changing and concerning situation as more operators were struggling to make routes work commercially and were terminating contracts.
WG were looking at Transport for Wales overseeing public bus services as a single controlling mind, and had been supporting bus operators with a bus emergency scheme, but it was not sustainable and an alternative solution was being sought.
That the outcome of the review of Local Travel Arrangements which had been necessary due to the pandemic be approved, and the further loss of local commercial bus services be noted.
- Bus Network Review Update, item 14. PDF 103 KB
- Appendix 1 - Bus Network Review Update, item 14. PDF 3 MB
- Appendix 2 - Bus Network Review Update, item 14. PDF 2 MB
- Appendix 3 - Bus Network Review Update, item 14. PDF 87 KB