Top

Top

 

Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 29th February, 2012

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation

 

Review of Supported Local Bus Services 2011 - Award of Supported Local Bus Contracts and Local Transport Services Grant 2012/2013

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To apprise Cabinet on the current position in respect of the Supported Bus Service Review and to seek approval for the award of tendered service Contract Agreements and continued service provision, as proposed.

2.             To inform Cabinet of the Local Transport Services Grant made available from the Welsh Government for 2012/2013 and implications for continued service provision following a reduced grant compared to recent years.

Recommendations

1.             That Cabinet approves the proposed award of Contract Agreements for supported local bus services, as contained within this report.

2.             That Cabinet accepts the sum of £328,139 Local Transport Services Grant (LTSG) for 2012/2013 and notes the implications for continued service provision.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To provide continued supported local bus service provision as detailed within the report following the end of current contract agreements for supported local bus services in the Vale, which were further extended through "delegated powers" until 31st March 2012 (inclusive).

2.             To ensure continued local bus service and community transport provision through the expenditure of the LTSG. 

Background

3.             Cabinet was previously considered  the background to the "review of supported local bus services", which was approved by Cabinet on Wednesday, 16th March 2011 (Cabinet Minute No. C1262 refers).

4.             LTSG was originally introduced in 1998/1999, initially as the 'Rural Bus Subsidy Grant', then as the 'Bus Subsidy Grant' and more recently as the 'Local Transport Services Grant' (LTSG). To date the grant has been extremely useful and valued in enabling Local Authorities in Wales, including the Vale of Glamorgan Council, to provide new and enhanced bus services.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             Since the commencement of the "Review of Supported Local Bus Services" and during the evaluation of tender submissions following the recent tender of proposed service contracts, the Welsh Government has advised Local Authorities of their LTSG allocations for 2012/2013.

6.             The total value of LTSG across Wales will be £8,000,000 for 2012/13 reduced by 27.27% from £11,000,000 for the current financial year (2011/12) and by 29.2% from £11,300,000 for 2010/11.

7.             The Vale of Glamorgan Council's allocation of LTSG for 2012/13 has also been reduced by 27.27% to £328,139, being reduced from £451,191 (2011/12). Subsequently, this has had an adverse affect with regard to initial intentions to propose continued and enhanced service provision, which was generally based on existing schedules with some new additional service provision based on responses received from the consultation exercise.

8.             LTSG is ring fenced for public transport services (Local Bus and Community Transport facilities) and administrative costs together with publicity and also minor works e.g. bus stop and shelter improvements. One of the conditions of the grant is that a Local Authority must spend at least 10% of its allocation on Community Transport services, which may include training related to the same.

9.             It should also be noted that in addition to the Welsh Government's decision to reduce LTSG, it has also recently decided to reduce the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) by 25%, which is paid direct to bus operators based on local bus service mileage in respect of fuel duty rebate. This is also expected to have further negative implications for the continued provision of local bus services (commercial and supported). Indeed, formal notice has already been submitted to the Welsh Traffic Area Office to cancel Commercial Service X46 (Cardiff Airport - Cardiff) operated by Cartel Travel Ltd (T/A Sprint Transport) with effect from 12th April 2012, partially due to this decision.

10.        Cabinet are advised that a formal letter from Councillor Jeffery James, Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation has been sent to Carl Sergeant, Transport Minister for the Welsh Government to inform him of the Council's concern following the reduction to LTSG and BSOG and the adverse affect that this is likely to have on the provision of local bus services (supported and commercial). A copy of that letter is attached (Appendix A refers).

11.        It is proposed to accept the LTSG allocation for the Vale of Glamorgan of £328,139.

12.        Following the recent review of local bus services in the Vale of Glamorgan and subsequent tender exercise, the following service provision is proposed from 1st April 2012.

13.        SERVICE 88 (Barry - Penarth via Bendrick, Sully and Cosmeston / Mon-Sat daytime): The preferred tender submission was with Cartel Travel Ltd (T/A Sprint Transport) at a cost of £199 per operational day. Following the reduction in LTSG it is proposed to award this Contract on a reduced service provision (i.e. Mondays to Saturdays instead of Mondays to Sundays) based on the current schedule with a minor route alteration (i.e. via Cog Road and Swanbridge Road through Sully instead of South Road) following a request at the consultation stage to provide service provision to the north of the village, which in turn takes it off its common route with commercial daytime Service 94 (Barry - Cardiff). 

14.        SERVICE 89A&B (Dinas Powys & Llandough - Cardiff via Penarth, Penarth Marina and Cardiff Bay / Mon-Sat daytime): The preferred tender submission was with Watts Coaches at a cost of £318 per operational day. Following the reduction in LTSG it is proposed to award this Contract on a reduced service provision (i.e. Mondays to Saturdays instead of Mondays to Sundays) based on the current schedule. 

15.        SERVICE 90 (Barry Waterfront - Culverhouse Cross M&S/Tesco / Mon-Sat daytime): The preferred tender submission was with Easyway Minibus Hire Ltd at a cost of £164 per operational day. It is proposed to award this Contract based on the current schedule. However, it should be noted that continued service provision beyond the forthcoming financial year is dependent on available budget when the current Section 106 planning obligation fund that currently finances this service ceases to apply.

16.        LINKED SERVICES 94 (Barry - Cardiff via Penarth / Mon-Sun evenings) and 96 (Barry - Cardiff via Wenvoe): The initial preferred tender submission was with Watts Coaches at a cost of £207 per operational day. However, the current service provider who also provides the commercial daytime service on these routes was Cardiff Bus at a cost of £210 per operational day. This is a difference in 'price' of just £3 and in 'quality' of 7.8 points. It is therefore proposed to award the Contract to Cardiff Bus in order to provide continuity of service provision, as there was very little difference between both tender submissions.  

17.        SERVICE 95 (Llantwit Major - Cardiff / Mon-Sat evenings): ): The preferred tender submission was with New Adventure Travel Ltd at a cost of £325 per operational day with option 1 (i.e. current service schedule and frequency) or £239 per operational day with option 2 (i.e. revised schedule with reduced frequency). Following the reduction in LTSG it is proposed to award this Contract based on option 2.

18.        SERVICE 100 (Barry Circular / Sunday daytime and evenings): The preferred tender submission was with Watts Coaches at a cost of £205 per operational day. It is proposed to award this Contract based on the current schedule.

19.        SERVICE 145/X5 (Bridgend - Llantwit Major - Cardiff / Mon-Sun daytime and evening): The preferred tender submission was with GM Coaches at a cost of £275 per operational day. It is proposed to award this Contract based on a revised schedule, which will include service provision to Pentre Cwrt and Llantwit Major north of the railway line.

20.        LINKED SERVICES 320 (Talbot Green - Cardiff via Pendoylan and Peterston-Super-Ely / Mon-Sat daytime) and 322 (Barry - Cardiff via Peterston-Super-Ely and St George's / Mon-Fri daytime): The preferred tender submission was with Watts Coaches at a cost of £208 per operational day. It is proposed to award this linked service Contract based on the current schedules. However, It should be noted that a petition has been received asking for the incumbent operator, Easyway Minibus Hire Ltd, to be retained, but this effectively nullifies the tender process, as Easyway were third in line with a significant difference in price (i.e. £358 compared to £208).

21.        SERVICE B3 (Garden Suburb, Barry - Cadoxton / Mon-Sat daytime): The preferred tender submission was with Watts Coaches at a cost of £119 per operational day. It is proposed to award this Contract based on the current schedule, whilst retaining an alternative option to further extend two journeys (1 x AM and 1 x PM) if required to serve St Richard Gwyn RC High School.

22.        SERVICE C1-4 (Vale of Glamorgan Show Special Services / 1 day per annum): The preferred tender submission was with Watts Coaches at a cost of £750 per operational day. It is proposed to award this Contract based on the current schedules with a caveat to be confirmed annually on agreement with the Council's Tourism Section to financially support the service provision, which has historically been the case.

23.        SERVICES V1-6 (Village Bus Group of Services / Mon-Sat daytime): The preferred tender submission was with GM Coaches at a cost of £490 per operational day. It is proposed to award this Contract based on the current schedules. It should be noted that there is connection between GM Coaches and the previous service provider Cartel Travel Ltd, having the same proprietor. However, they are two separate companies and run from different depots.

24.        SERVICE X2 (Bridgend - Cardiff / Mon-Sat evenings): The preferred tender submission was with First Cymru Buses Ltd at a cost of £112 per operational day. It is proposed to award this Contract based on the current schedule.

25.        The following services were tendered and were in line to be accepted, until the recent LTSG award has rendered them unaffordable. Due to the reduction of LTSG for 2012/2013 it has therefore not been possible to award as originally intended following the initial evaluation stages.

26.        SERVICE 87 (Dinas Powys - Cardiff via Llandough, Penarth and Cardiff Bay / NEW): The preferred tender submission was with New Adventure Travel Ltd at a cost of £129 per operational day. This was a new evening service proposal following receipt of requests through the bus service review and other events such as the "Bus Users Surgery" held last year in Penarth. It is proposed not to award this Contract, given the unfortunate and disappointing reduction in LTSG.

27.        SERVICE 146 (Llantwit Major - Bridgend / Mon-Sat daytime): The preferred tender submission was with Easyway Minibus Hire Ltd at a cost of £87.70 per operational day. It is proposed not to award this Contract. Service 145 has been revised and will continue to provide service provision to many of the residential areas currently served by Service 146 (i.e. Pentre Cwrt, Wick, St Brides Major and Ewenny). It should be noted that service provision to St Brides Major north (i.e. bus stops located near the village Post Office shop) and the Merthyr Mawr Road section of route in Bridgend will no longer receive service provision. However, residents in the rural Vale of Glamorgan including St Bride's Major can use the Greenlinks Rural Community Transport, especially if they have difficulty walking to bus stops at the southern end of the village. In addition, Bridgend County Borough Council has been made aware that Service 146 is likely to be cancelled. This is disappointing but unavoidable due to the reduction in LTSG.

28.        SERVICE B1 (Barry Summer Service): It was proposed to introduce a seasonal Barry circular service, linking the Waterfront, Barry Island, the Knapp, Porthkerry Park and the Town Centre. The preferred tender submission was with Watts Coaches at a cost of £149 per operational day. It is no longer possible to award this Contract, given the reduction in LTSG by the Welsh Government.

29.        SERVICE P1 (Penarth Summer Service): It was proposed to introduce a permanent seasonal Penarth circular service, linking Penarth Marina with the Town Centre, the pier and esplanade, Cosmeston Country Park and Cogan Leisure Centre. The preferred tender submission was with Watts Coaches at a cost of £167 per operational day. It is proposed not to award this Contract given the reduction in LTSG by the Welsh Government. However, it should be noted that this service has over the past two summers been provided with partial financial contribution from Penarth Town Council.

30.        The following Contract Agreements were not tendered but will continue as proposed.

31.        SERVICE 905 (Cardiff Airport Rail Linc): The current Contract Agreement for this service is due to terminate on 30th April 2012 (after operations). However, Council has the option to further extend this Contract Agreement for up to 5-years maximum (i.e. up to 31st November 2015 or sooner), as the current term commenced from 1st December 2010. The continuance of this service beyond 30th April 2012 is dependent on a decision by the Welsh Government with regard to their continued contributions (i.e. £119,000 approximately) above that of the Council's own £15,000 contribution. It is proposed to extend this service Contract Agreement if the Welsh Government agrees continued contributions,. 

32.        SERVICE X2 (Bridgend - Cardiff / Sundays): It is proposed to continue this service provision on its existing "de minimis" Contract Agreement.

33.        COMMUNITY TRANSPORT: It is intended to continue contributions towards operational and vehicle costs of local community transport schemes currently provided in the Vale of Glamorgan using 10% of the total LTSG (i.e. £32,813.90 for 2012/2013).

34.        Members will note that the recent LTSG reduction has seriously impacted on the scope of services and our intentions.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

35.        If accepted, the Council will receive an allocation of £328,139 Local Transport Services Grant (LTSG) that must be spent on local bus services and community transport, but can also be spent on public transport infrastructure improvements and information.  Appendix 'B' refers to the projected costs for local bus services financially supported through the Local Transport Services Grant (2012/13) provided by the Welsh Government. LTSG cross boundary agreements would also generate an additional £32,000 income (approximately).

36.        The Council's established budget for Supported Local Bus Services for the forthcoming financial year (2012/13) is £426,562 (this assumes an income of £65,280); therefore the real figure is £361,282.  Appendix 'C' refers to projected costs for local bus services financially supported through the Council's established budget for Supported Local Bus Services and other associated budgets.

37.        The use of Section 106 planning gain from the "My Space" development at Jackson's Quay, Barry Waterfront is likely to be required for the continued service provision of Service 90 (Barry Waterfront - Culverhouse Cross M&/Tesco) in years to come, although, this is a matter that will require closer attention at the appropriate time.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

38.        The provision of supported local bus services is provided under section 89 of the Transport Act 1985.  It is discretionary and the Council can defend any provision, or the lack of it, on the grounds of availability and targeting resources.

39.        The Section 106 monies received from the Marks and Spencer, Culverhouse Cross development is specific to sustainable transport improvements to local bus service provision between the development and Barry. Service 90 (Barry - Culverhouse Cross M&S/Tesco) is currently financed by this fund, which is expected to last into the next financial year.

Crime and Disorder Implications

40.        Public transport assists in the provision of a safe way for the population to travel throughout the Vale of Glamorgan and beyond.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

41.        Local bus services are available for use by all persons no matter of gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, beliefs or language and thus providing equal access to employment opportunities, services and facilities within the community.

42.        Welsh residents who meet the age (60yrs plus) or disability criteria and are in possession of a free Welsh concessionary bus pass are entitled to free travel under the existing Vale of Glamorgan Concessionary fare scheme and therefore on the registered local bus services mentioned within this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

43.        The Council's objective with regard to local bus service provision is "to work closely with transport stakeholders to achieve a more efficient, equitable and sustainable transport network in the Vale of Glamorgan".

44.        The provision of a reliable and efficient public transport service provides alternative and sustainable means of travel and ensures good accessibility for those without access to private modes of transport.

Policy Framework and Budget

45.        This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

46.        The views of stakeholders and members of the public have been sought, considered and where appropriate incorporated into this report.

47.        All members have been consulted with regard to this report.

Comments received from Councillor Ernest:

1.           Service 88. I consider that this service is totally uneconomic, and has been for several years, as the buses run into and out of Penarth virtually empty most of the time, and this must not continue, as I have previously suggested on several occasions. Much of the route is exactly the same as that of Service 94, other than on some low traffic short sections, and I cannot see the justification of running virtually empty buses on the same route, where they compete, often at similar timetable timings, ineffectively with Cardiff Bus, who provide a perfectly adequate day and evening service.

2.           However, I would prefer to see the Proposed Service 87 (New Evening Service) operate, instead of Service 88, as this will provide a much needed Evening Service to Cardiff Bay theatres etc. via Penarth Town Centre and Cardiff Bay. The funding for this new service could then come from the allocation for the to-be-discontinued Service 88.

3.           Service 89A/89B. Reducing this service on a Sunday will impact heavily on both Dinas Powys and Penarth Marina users, who will lose Sunday service. Again I would prefer to see funding used to maintain service on Sundays through Penarth Marina, to pick up on some of the 100,000 pedestrians who are reported to use the Cardiff Bay Barrage across to Penarth, many of whom wish to get into Penarth via Penarth Town Centre and thence the Esplanade. (However, see also 4. below).

4.           What is required is a Circular Service serving major Tourist Destinations around Penarth, that does not compete with either existing Cardiff Bus routes. The critical stops/pick up points required are; Penarth Town Centre (Windsor Terrace South side), Pont-y-Werin, Cardiff Bay Barrage Landing Stage, Esplanade and Cliff Walk. (There is no need to cover Cosmeston as this is well covered by the 30 minute frequency 94 Service). I would recommend re-pricing for this option using moneys from the discontinued 88 Service.

 

Further Ward Member Comments received as part of this report.

 

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

48.        Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

Appendix A: Letter to Carl Sergeant AM regarding LTSG.

 

Appendix B: Projected cost of Local Bus Services financially supported by LTSG 2012/13

 

Appendix C: Projected cost of Local Bus Services financially supported by the Council's Established Budget for Supported Local Bus Services 2012/13

 

Contact Officer

Ceri Edwards - Senior Transportation Officer - Planning and Transportation Policy - Tel: 01446 704760.

 

Officers Consulted

Head of Accountancy and Resource Management, Financial Services

Corporate Policy and Communications

Operational Manager, Strategy and Support

Procurement

Legal Services

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Quick - Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration