Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Cabinet Meeting: 28 July, 2014
Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation
Bus Services Support Grant 2014/2015
Purpose of the Report
1. To inform Cabinet of the Bus Services Support Grant (BSSG), formerly Regional Transport Services Grant (RTSG), that has been made available from the Welsh Government for the continued support of the local bus services for the 2014/2015 financial year. The report also outlines how the BSSG will be used within the Vale of Glamorgan. This detail is provided for information purposes.
1. That Cabinet endorses the acceptance of the sum of £371,084 Bus Services Support Grant (BSSG) for 2014/2015.
2. That Cabinet approves the proposed use of the BSSG revenue funding.
Reasons for the Recommendations
1. To ensure continued local bus service and community transport provision through the expenditure of the BSSG.
2. That services can be undertaken as proposed.
1. Introduced originally in 1998/99, first as the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant, this Welsh Government funding has taken on many names: the Bus Subsidy Grant, the Local Transport Services Grant, Regional Transport Services Grant and as of 2014/2015 the Bus Services Support Grant. This funding has been very useful in providing bus services across the Vale of Glamorgan.
2. The grant is ring fenced for Public Transport Services (Local Bus and Community Transport Facilities) and associated administrative costs, together with publicity, and also minor works such as bus shelter improvements.
Relevant Issues and Options
1. The total value of the grant across Wales is £11,361,783 for the 2014/2015 financial year compared to £11,417,722 in 2013/2014. In 2013/14 the Vale of Glamorgan received £340,444.
2. One of the conditions of the grant is that a local authority must spend a minimum of 5% of its allocation on Community Transport Services (£18,554), although the Welsh Government set a suggested target of £49,180 for the Vale of Glamorgan to spend on community transport in the 2014/15 financial year. The Vale of Glamorgan Council contributes to the operating costs of VEST (Voluntary Emergency Services Transport) and EVCT (East Vale Community Transport) as well as our own community transport scheme - Greenlinks. Dinas Powys Voluntary Concern (DPVC) and Ogwr Transport for Elderley or Disabled (OTED) have also recently submitted applications for funding. Applications for each operator have been assessed and the potential grant award is contained in Appendix A.
3. In respect of standard Local Bus Services, the BSSG (formerly RTSG) has in the past been used to support a number of additional services together with services provided on enhanced frequencies and in certain cases where there have been commercial services withdrawn but reinstated with BSSG. The BSSG contributes to the extension of the New Adventure Travel 303/304 service which now provides a through bus service between Bridgend and Cardiff connecting many villages on route including Llantwit Major, St Athan, Rhoose, Barry and Dinas Powys.
4. Welsh Government specify in documentation that local authorities should use the BSSG to support their core strategic networks and enhance accessibility and connectivity to communities, essential services and facilities.
5. In association with the former South East Wales Transport Alliance (SEWTA) the routes in Appendix A were previously agreed as strategic and supported the Welsh Government's key objectives.
6. A summary of proposed expenditure for the BSSG for 2014/2015 is contained in Appendix A to this report.
7. Appendix A takes into account the annual increase due to applicable service contracts that are more than one year old from 1st September 2014, under the terms of the contract agreements. The annual review is calculated from appropriate index of prices as recorded in the Monthly Digest of Statistics. Based on an estimated uplift of 3% the increase in costs on the BSSG funded serviced would be £5,735.
8. Appendix A takes into account administration and publicity costs that can be apportioned to the BSSG.
9. It should be noted if a local authority was to cut its own budget on supported bus services then WG can reduce the BSSG allocation to reflect that cut.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
10. There are no additional financial implications in respect of this report. The award of funding letter has been accepted by the Director of Development Services by the deadline of 30th June 2014.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
11. The Bus Services and Community Transport facilities detailed in this report operate under the Terms of the Transport Act 1985. The BSSG received from the Welsh Government must be used on bus service provision, Community Transport and associated facilities.
Crime and Disorder Implications
12. 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)
13. Public transport is of particular importance to those Services of the Community who may not have direct access to private transport, particularly the elderly, young people and the physically impaired.
14. The provision of reliable and efficient Public Transport Services provides alternative means of travel and ensures good accessibility for those without access to private transport. This links with the Council's objectives for social wellbeing and tackling disadvantages.
Policy Framework and Budget
15. This report is a matter for Executive Decision by Cabinet.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
16. No Ward Member consultation carried out as this is a Vale wide issue.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
17. Economy and Environment.
Bus Services Support Grant 2014/2015 Notes for Guidance
"Award of funding in relation to bus services support grant 2014/15" letter from Monmouthshire Council
Kyle Phillips - Senior Transportation Officer - Tel: 01446 704760.
Finance Support Manager, Development Services
Legal - Committee Reports
Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services