Monday 5 September 2016

Hull Bus Cuts Decision

Hull City Council have decided on changes to supported bus services within the city, which will result in cost savings to contribute towards budget cuts. Thankfully overall they aren't too drastic, but for those impacted I'm sure they won't be saying that. It should be noted options to cut services back further were rejected. Further details are contained in this report from council officers.

Services 1D, 1E, 16 and 50 will be operated by EYMS from 30th October 2016 to 31st October 2019 for a cost of £169,863.04 per year. There is an option to extend each contract for up to 12 months (it is worth noting the 1D/1E is two separate contracts for the Sibelius Road and Mizzen Road sections). The decision was based on 80% price and 20% quality.

Services 1D and 1E will not see any "significant changes to service frequency" but service 50 will reduce from every 1 3/4 hours to every 2 hours. The biggest change will come on service 16, which is currently operated by Stagecoach. From the takeover by EYMS onwards, the frequency will reduce from hourly to every two hours after the morning peak period.

A contract for services from the Dorchester Road and Kestrel Avenue areas to North Point Shopping Centre, currently provided by variations to Stagecoach commercial service 9, has not been awarded. No compliant tenders were received and tenders for the existing service exceeded the available budget. Instead it is recommended that efforts are made to agree with bus operators a deal to cover Kestrel Avenue, through a de minimis variation to a commercial service. "Initial discussions with local bus companies" indicate this will be possible and should result in a cost saving as compared to awarding a contract. No doubt Stagecoach will be continuing to provide this link.

Dorchester Road seems likely to be left without a service. Council officers note that changes to commercial (Stagecoach) services over the last two years have provided more frequent services on nearby roads, and that the Dorchester Road service "simply provides a shorter walk to the nearest bus stop".

Service 9 also receives funding for diversions in West Hull, to serve the Grammar School Road area; this diversion is also part funded by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, which wishes to withdraw it's share of support. The Hull City Council decision instructs officers to "engage with bus companies to finalise agreements" for services in this area to continue, again another de minimis arrangement.

"Minor" financial contributions to some 'out of city' services will also end from 1st April 2017 (not 31st October 2016 as officers recommended). This covers service 350 tendered by North Lincolnshire Council, and services 78/277 and 105 tendered by East Riding of Yorkshire Council. The 105 must cover two Sunday morning return journeys that East Riding of Yorkshire Council wish to withdraw funding for, and I guess the 350 covers the EYMS operated Monday to Saturday evening or Sunday journeys as I think all Stagecoach journeys are commercially operated; East Riding of Yorkshire Council also wish to withdraw funding for their share of the EYMS operated Monday to Saturday evening journeys. It is not clear what service 78/277 journeys are impacted. These contributions are below £1000, though it is not clear if that is per service or for all the services concerned, and I can only presume the contribution is per annum.

Some happy news to end on - Stagecoach have said they will require no subsidy for service 6 from 1st April 2017 to maintain the current service level.


Anonymous said...

The fact that Stagecoach say they won't need a subsidy just goes to prove that the bus companies are just taking the councils for a ride at times. They know they don't really need a subsidy at times but are quite happy to take every penny they can get.

Fortunately it looks like the councils have got wise and are finally pulling the plug. About time too considering its council tax payers that ultimately foot the bill.

Anonymous said...

Re- anonymous commenter - Same thing happened near us - except stagecoach bidded for an Evening/Sunday service, but lost out to another operator. Decided actually they could run it commercially after all - Tender cancelled. The fact is the current tendering process is broken - it is good for councils to get the best deal, but doesn't have passengers interests at heart. The extra cost to the passenger of having a different operator running a route at off peak with no inter availability of day riders/return tickets, means you have to pay more to use it and the service becomes less attractive. Im surprised the whole supported bus services regime hasn't been investigated yet - what with several bus routes suddenly becoming viable when one operator looses the contract?

Anonymous said...

That depends maybe when stagecoach started running the service it need help, but because it helped created a proper service from early morning to late at night it gain more passengers etc

Thus its built up the passenger base?

Humber Transport said...

I certainly suspect that was the case. Hull City Council have commendably funded services to Kingswood from near enough day 1, to try and make public transport use an option for those who moved in when the estate was small and not viable for a commercial bus service to operate to it.

I guess the question is, should services to Kingswood have been fully commercially viable before now? I haven't followed exactly when all the new houses have been built in Kingswood closely enough to be able to comment.