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Consultation on Subsidised bus services in Flintshire

*Consultation has now been extended until Friday 18th October*

Like all Councils in Wales and elsewhere in the UK, Flintshire County Council is under considerable pressure to make savings on its public spending.

UK Government has reduced funding to Welsh Government by £1.7 billion over the next few years, which will inevitably impact on funding of all public services across Wales, including transport.  From 1st April 2013, Welsh Government has made changes to the way it subsidises bus services and community transport in Wales, which has meant a cut in bus grant funding across Wales from £33m to £25m per annum.  For Flintshire, the cuts signify an overall year on year reduction of £224,000 for its subsidised bus services. 

As a result of the changes, the Council committed to undertake a fundamental review of its subsidised bus services during the financial year 2012/13 in order to determine the future level of support.  However, it was not possible to start the review until the new Welsh Government funding scheme had been announced, so the timescale for completion and subsequent implementation of any significant action have been delayed until the 2013/14 financial year.

Officers have reviewed all the supported bus services in accordance with the Council’s Policy for Subsidised Bus Services in Flintshire.  Before making any decisions, the Council wishes to hear the views of its passengers, residents and communities.

This consultation is an important part of the review process and is aimed at identifying the most important priorities of bus users.  The consultation will take place between 12th August and 11th October 2013.  During this time we would like to hear your views. Our preferred method of seeking your views is to use an electronic questionnaire: 

Bus Services Questionnaire (new window)

All the consultation responses will be collated into a report for the Council’s Cabinet to consider at its meeting in December 2013.  If you would like clarification of any information on the website or if you wish to request a printed version of the questionnaire please email: katie.wilby@flintshire.gov.uk

You can also take part in this consultation by attending one of the drop-in "bus surgeries" planned for September 2013. This is organised by Bus Users UK Cymru and further details including times and venues will be published on the Flintshire website and on posters on local bus services.

Consultation Timescale

Consultation: 12th August to 18th October 2013

Assessment 14th October to 31st October 2013
Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee: 13th November 2013

Cabinet approval: 17th December 2013

Agreement & Notice to Contractors: December 2013

Tendering: January and February 2014

Notice to the Traffic Commissioner: 19th February 2014
Implementation: April 2014

What are the proposals?

Appendix 3 details the draft recommendations and potential changes to bus services.  Consultees are asked to consider the merits of each recommendation, if they wish, giving their views. It would be helpful if consultees could give reasons and evidence to support their views.

Please note that this consultation affects contracts only.  Bus services that are not mentioned operate commercially, and are outside the direct control of the County Council and therefore outside the scope of this consultation.

The current services have all been assessed in accordance with the Council’s

Policy for Subsidised Bus Services in Flintshire shown in Appendix 2, which has resulted in the draft recommendations set out in the matrix shown in Appendix 3.

It is important that this review is conducted in light of an agreed set of criteria, which could be used consistently and objectively, to determine and prioritise the level of Council intervention.

Generally, the best barometer of effectiveness is by subsidy per passenger.

This is calculated by dividing the annual cost to the public purse by the total number of passengers.  The key principle of intervention would be that, for services where the subsidy per trip exceeds a specific level, a detailed review would be undertaken and remedial action taken.

The review assesses services in a traffic light RAG format (Red, Amber, Green); with Green being a cost effective service, Amber requiring some form of further review and possible discussion with the bus operator and Red being a service which is not cost effective to run in its current form.

It should be recognised that in exceptional cases, the cost per passenger alone will not necessarily determine whether a service should be subsidised or withdrawn.  Consequently, services have also been analysed against the passenger travel needs outlined below.

Accessibility - Bus service provides access to key essential services e.g. health, education, shopping and reduces social exclusion

Economic Regeneration - Bus service provides access to main employment areas and supports economic regeneration by providing a way for business to access the workforce they need

Integration – Bus service integrates well with other modes of transport and provides connections with other main bus services

Sustainability – Bus service provides an attractive alternative to the private car & contributes towards reducing the numbers of cars on the road and reducing carbon dioxide emissions

Safety & Security – Bus service provides a safer mode of transport than the private car, both for passengers and for other road users and pedestrians e.g. school journeys

Note: There are no proposals to cut peak time journeys that carry learners for school or workers. This is to protect employment and education.  Consultees may either agree or disagree with this view.

  • Appendix 1 (PDF 22KB new window)
  • Appendix 2 (PDF 75KB new window)
  • Appendix 3 (PDF 55KB new window)
  • Appendix 4 (PDF 17KB new window)
  • Appendix 5 (PDF 51KB new window)

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