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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment): 27th March, 2012

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation

 

Review of Supported Local Bus Services - Award of Contracts

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To consider the "Call-in" Requests received in respect of this report from four Members (see attached).

Recommendation

1.             That the content of this report be noted and supported.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             To allow Cabinet to consider the response of Scrutiny Committee.

2.             To consider the implications of the contents of the letter from Welsh Government.

Background

2.             The report is provided in response to Call-in Requests for consideration by Councillors Mark Wilson, Chris Elmore, Gwyn John and Neil Moore.

3.             The proposals to withdraw certain Sunday bus services (88/89) reduce evening frequency (95) and to withdraw the direct service from Llantwit Major to Bridgend (146) is a consequence of the reduction in the Local Transport Services Grant (LTSG) by 27% provided by the Welsh Government and effective from 1st April, 2012.

4.             However, Members need to be aware that a letter dated 16th March, 2012 has been received from the Minister for Local Government and Communities reinstating existing funding for a further period of up to 6 months.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             In response to Councillor Mark Wilson's queries, (i) the withdrawal of Sunday services on Routes 88 (Barry to Penarth via the Bendricks and Sully) and 89A/B (Dinas Powys to Penarth and Cardiff via Cardiff Bay) was due to lower passenger numbers on Sundays compared to Mondays to Saturdays.  This results in a saving of £30,000 per annum.  (ii)  In respect of a proposed evening 87 service (Dinas Powys to Penarth and Cardiff via Cardiff Bay) requested by local residents, this currently does not operate and would be a new additional provision at a cost of £40,000 per annum.  No organisation has been approached for sponsorship.  (iii)  Summer Service P1 (Penarth Local Town Service) may be further considered by Penarth Town Council for summer 2012 in partnership with the Council.  The service does duplicate existing services although is seen to be of tourist merit as it purely serves the Penarth area.  Provision costs £149 per day.  No local businesses have been approached for sponsorship.  (iv)  There was a full consultation on the report and some responses were received at that time.

6.             In response to Councillor Elmore's queries, the Sunday Service 88 (Barry to Penarth via the Bendricks) is lightly used but it does provide the only facility to the Bendricks on a Sunday.  The cost of reinstating the facility would be £11,000 per annum.  It should be noted that a number of years ago a "taxi bus" was provided to the Bendricks on a Sunday - this was on request and subsidised by this Council and was not well used.

7.             In response to Councillor Gwyn John's queries, I attach a list of all supported bus services in the Vale of Glamorgan (excluding school services).  Direct bus service 146 Llantwit Major to  Bridgend is proposed for withdrawal with hourly Service 145 being extended in Llantwit Major to Pentre'r Cwrt including operation via Bedford Rise.  To retain Service 146 would cost £27,000 per annum.  The evening Service 95 under the proposals has two journeys from Llantwit Major to Cardiff and one journey from Cardiff to Llantwit Major withdrawn.  To reinstate these works would cost £26,316 per annum.

8.             In response to Councillor Moore's queries.  (i)  Service X46 (Cardiff Airport to Cardiff via Barry) was withdrawn from 12th March, 2012.  This service was operated commercially by Cartel (EST) and was in part a casualty of the reduction in Bus Services Operators Grant (BSOG) paid to operators.  It would be difficult to justify the replacement of Service X46 as a subsidised route as for much of the route it competes with other commercial services operated by Cardiff Bus (Services 93 and 95).  Supported Service 88 will cater for Vere Street and Little Moors Hill.  Cartel may consider extending Service 88 to Cardiff on a "commercial" basis but that would be a Company decision and would need the introduction of an additional vehicle into the cycle.

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

9.             To reinstate Sunday Services 88/89 and Service 146 would cost £57,000 per annum.  The provision of a summer Service P1 on the same days/timetable as that operated in 2011 would cost £8,642 running from May Day Bank Holiday weekend to the first weekend of September.  Penarth Town Council may wish to consider this further, In partnership with the Council in due course.

10.        Additionally, the only other service adversely affected by the proposals is the reduced frequency of evening Service 95 Llantwit Major to Cardiff via Barry.  This would cost £26,316 per annum to reinstate.

11.        Given the contents of the letter from Carl Sargeant, Minister for Local Government and Communities, I am currently seeking clarity on the terms of the offer and how this relates to the companies renew process.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

12.        The provision of supported local bus services is provided under Section 89 of the Transport Act 1985.

Crime and Disorder Implications

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

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

14.        Local bus services facilitate movement and independence for all sectors of the community.

Corporate/Service Objectives

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

Policy Framework and Budget

16.        The report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

17.        Ward Member consultation took place in respect of the Cabinet Report and responses received were included in that report.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

18.        Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

Appendix A - Call in requests from Councillors M. Wilson, C. Elmore, G. John and N. Moore.

 

Appendix B - Letter dated 16th March, 2012 from Carl Sargeant AM.

 

Appendix C - Comprehensive list of supported bus services.

  

Contact Officer

Ceri Edwards, Senior Transportation Officer, Tel 01446 704760.

 

Officers Consulted

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Quick - Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration.

 

 

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