Sunday 26 June 2016

East Riding Bus Cuts Proposals - Some Thoughts

Having reviewed the list of services in the East Riding of Yorkshire that are and aren't proposed to loose their council subsidy, some thoughts.

While the "balanced scorecard" used to rank services has been weighted against some variables, such as low passenger numbers, evening and Sunday services and the availability of "substantially similar local bus services", there are no pre-conditions used. So no outright refusal to fund evening and Sunday services, no requirement to ensure communities retain a bus service, no minimum passenger threshold or maximum subsidy threshold. Therefore some villages could no longer be served by a traditional bus service, while the council continues to fund evening services between Bridlington and Bempton, and Hull and Goole, and Sunday services between Hornsea and Bridlington/Withernsea (the latter Summer only). Right or wrong? It is easy to criticise, but I guess East Riding of Yorkshire Council would argue that the evening and Sunday services proposed to keep their funding meet their varied criteria to do so, even after being penalised in the "balanced scorecard" for the times of the day/week they operate.

The worst performing service in the "balanced scorecard" is the funding for a small number of Sunday diversions to EYMS service 75 between Hull and Withernsea, to serve Burstwick. This is very much a contract I would question why it is being funded now anyway. Either EYMS should provide it commercially, or Burstwick should be able to suffice without, given the vast majority of Sunday 75's serve Burstwick commercially. Annual passengers are 295, average 1 per journey at a £2.34 per passenger subsidy.

The next worst performing service is Thornes 2 on Fridays between Bubwith and Market Weighton, which duplicates EYMS service 18. I'm not sure if the 2 and 18 follow the exact same route, but if need be hopefully the 18 could have a Friday variation. Another contract that I question why it is being funded anyway now.

Another service which I am really rather surprised is currently being funded is the 3 day a week Humbleton and Garton diversion on service 221. It has 97 annual passengers, at an £8.79 per passenger subsidy. If this was one day a week, 97 annual passengers wouldn't be quite as bad, but funding 3 days a week seems excessive. Also neither village would be left unserved by a bus service (though parts of Humbleton would be unserved).

Contracts with a per passenger subsidy of less than 25p have been heavily weighted in the "balanced scorecard" (where a high score is bad news) - I presume in the belief that they should be able to work commercially, possibly in a revised form. This covers the contribution to Acklams 5 (25p per passenger - I presume that is rounded up from 24 point something pence), Stagecoach 9 (6p per passenger) and EYMS 88 (7p per passenger).

Some contracts have very low average passenger per journey numbers. In addition to the 221 at average zero passengers per journey:
Average 1 passenger per journey:
  • 10 Wawne extensions - not proposed to have funding withdrawn
  • 75 Sunday Burstwick diversion (see above)
  • 78 Paull diversions Monday to Saturday
  • 79 Paull diversion Monday to Saturday
  • 142 Middleton-Holme Saturday
  • S1-3 Market Weighton area shoppers
Average 2 passengers per journey:
  • 121 Bridlington-Driffield Monday to Saturday morning
  • 121 Nafferton-Leconfield Monday to Saturday peak
Average 3 passengers per journey:
  • 155 South Cave-Goole Sunday
  • 180 Walkington-Beverley Monday to Friday peak
  • 199 Huggate-Pocklington Tuesday
  • 246 Hornsea-Beverley peak
A comment on earlier post noted that Paull is proposed to have funding removed for all subsidised journeys into the village, while Easington is due to keep 60 services a week. In carrying out it's "balanced scorecard", East Riding of Yorkshire Council seem to have assessed each contract they currently issue, "as is", and not considered the potential to reduce some services to contribute to savings, an "all or nothing" approach to each contract. Maybe it was felt to consider reduced contracts would add too many variables into the mix? Whatever the reason, hopefully this is something that will be considered. Would dropping the 502 evening service Monday to Thursday, and retaining on a Friday and Saturday be a better option? Running the 242 2 or 3 days a week rather than 6? A Summer Sunday service on the 130 but not in Winter? Retaining some service but "creating" funding to reduce the number of contracts being cut entirely?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If these cuts do go through it will have huge ramifications across the East Riding as I imagine that some services that are funded also help non funded services keep running. Looking at the proposed list for instance the 1500 Hedon to Hull 78 is funded but not the 277 that gets the bus to Hedon. It's going to get very interesting and extremely messy!