Hampshire County Council

Executive Member - Environment

24 July 2007

Bus Subsidy Budget - Savings Plan

Report of the Director of Environment

Item 2

Contact: Keith Willcox, ext 6997 email: keith.willcox@hants.gov.uk

1. Summary

1.1 This report sets out proposals for managing saving targets on the 2007/08 and 2008/09 bus subsidy budget. Details of services affected are set out in the attached appendix.

1.2 This decision will enable transport services which give access to employment, education, health, retail and leisure facilities for the widest section of the community, thus enhancing well-being, whilst containing expenditure within the budget available.

2. Recommendation

2.1 That in order to manage the 2007/08 and 2008/09 saving targets on the bus subsidy budget, the following measures be implemented:

Measure

Anticipated Total Saving £'000

1. Sunday Services

    - withdraw all supported Sunday evening services, together with the poorer performing Sunday day-time services

2. Weekday evenings

    - withdraw worst performing services

3. Weekday day-time services

    - rationalise routes where the majority of passengers have alternatives

107

281

122

TOTAL=510

3. Introduction and Background

3.1 The need to provide funding for bus services which are socially beneficial but not commercially viable has been recognised in law for over 40 years. Since deregulation of bus services, in 1986, it has been required that local authority support is specifically targeted at particular journeys or services where need is identified, but which cannot be run profitably, rather than meet losses across a network as a whole. Although more sophisticated measures have been developed to evaluate where support should be provided, rising costs, reduced patronage due to demographic and economic changes, and often lack of competition in the supply of services means that costs are rising at a level several times greater than Central Government funding to local authorities.

3.2 Hampshire is a large and diverse county, relatively affluent with pockets of deprivation, and above average car ownership, journey to work length and elderly population. Only 10% of the county is classified as urban yet this is home to 87% of the population. Road traffic is forecast to grow by 40% by 2026. This provides particular challenges for conventional passenger transport.

3.3 The majority of bus services, some 70%, are provided commercially by a range of different operators. People are often unaware that the County Council has no control over the frequency, fares or vehicles used on these services, though the Council does work with operators to develop the busiest routes through the Quality Bus Partnership (QBP) process. The County Council funds the remainder of services to varying degrees and specifies timetables, but generally fares and vehicles are left to the operator. One outcome is that the public are often unaware of the County Council's involvement unless service reduction or withdrawal is proposed. This perception must change.

3.4 Against this background the County Council has achieved a number of successes. Passenger retention year on year is 98.03% compared to 97.2% for England outside London. This is due in large part to the success of QBPs which now cater for 27% of passenger journeys and have led to passenger growth of up to 35% on these routes.

3.5 There are 310 bus services in Hampshire provided by 30 operators using 700 buses which cover 34 million kilometres and carry 27 million passenger journeys a year. They serve 11 bus stations and over 8,500 bus stops. The County Council funded the £1.6 million Havant bus station opened in 2006 and over 100 bus stops were upgraded across the county. The County Council funds some 200 services in whole or in part at a cost of £6 million per year. These account for 28% of mileage and 1 in 6 passenger journeys. Forty-five are rural services with a further 33 serving rural areas as part of interurban routes. This helps combat rural isolation. In addition, there are 12 Cango services and 8 car share schemes. A total of 48% of bus subsidy funding goes to `main-day' services with other funding going on peak-time, off-peak, evening or Sunday services, or bespoke registered local bus services.

3.6 Every day, bus services paid for by the County Council take around:

4. 2007/08 Budget

4.1 The Revenue Budget for 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10 was considered by the Policy and Resources Policy Review Committee on 1 February 2007 and the Executive Member for Environment on 16 January 2007. The provisional corporate revenue budget guidelines for 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10, approved by the Cabinet in September 2006, included an additional sum of £6 million for Adult Services, reflecting the continuing impact of demographic factors on the cost of providing these services. The majority of this increase is to be met from an unallocated contingency of £4.9 million in the provisional 2007/08 County Council budget, leaving a shortfall of £1.1 million which has been applied across all other service budget guidelines.

4.2 The Environment Service's share of the budget guideline redistribution is £244,000 in 2007/08, rising to £495,000 in 2008/09. Savings of this order would need to be found from reductions in front line services as there is no further immediate capacity to make further savings with staffing and support cost budgets.

4.3 Having reviewed options for reductions against the three main service areas of passenger transport, highways maintenance and discretionary environmental services, it was considered advantageous to manage the impact of the budget guideline redistribution by looking for savings through a review of passenger transport support.

4.4 It is proposed to fund the budget redistribution top-slice by removing support for some bus services in September/October 2007 which would realise savings of around £500,000 (precise figures can only be obtained when matters are concluded). By making one reduction in September/ October 2007 (half-way through the 2007/08 financial year) it will address the budget pressures for both financial years 2007/08 and 2008/09.

5. Approach

5.1 Reducing a £6 million revenue budget by £500,000 is a challenging exercise. The approach undertaken was to consider all areas of the bus subsidy budget. This included:

5.2 Following an internal review and taking account of the overall value for money, accessibility to services and need, it was considered that three areas of the existing budget, Sunday services, weekday evenings and weekday day-time services, represented the most appropriate areas to focus on.

5.3 The support to ferries (£45,000 per annum) along with funds from Southampton City Council and Portsmouth City Council generally represent cost effective support and is important in assisting with reducing traffic congestion, by allowing shorter and more direct transport provision by water. Cango services account for £276,000 per annum from the bus subsidy budget, out of a total of £582,000 (which includes home to school transport funds and contributions from other local authorities). These services provide flexible transport provision in rural areas and in many instances provide for social lifelines to the elderly population. Reductions in ferry support and Cango were not considered as the most viable services for rationalisation and were discounted for review.

5.4 Finally, the bespoke registered local bus services (as in 5.1(vi) above): over £600,000 per annum is spent on these across the county. The vast majority of these services are very cost effective and play a key part in the operational timetabling of bus company commercial services. Whilst being initially considered, it was necessary to balance against the implication of the new Education and Inspections Act 2006 which provides for more choice of schools for parents in receipt of Working Tax Credit or free school meals and it was therefore decided to retain all these services.

5.5 Withdrawal of Sunday, weekday evening and those weekday day-time services where rationalisation is possible is least likely to affect people's essential journeys to education, shopping, work or healthcare, and will therefore least affect the County Council's accessibility scores using the Department of Transport's accession model.

5.6 On Sundays the need for travel is generally reduced due to the limited number of facilities being open/available. This reflects the lower patronage figures generally on Sundays. However, due to the success of QBP routes across the county, it is considered that the better Sunday day-time services that operate with subsidy on QBP routes should be retained. The less well-performing Sunday services, in terms of value for money, are proposed for deletion, together with all Sunday evening services. This equates to a value of £107,108; the attached appendix lists the services.

5.7 Similarly, the need for travel to such facilities as work, education, retail and health is generally reduced than compared to 8 am-6 pm day-time activity. The proposal here is for the less well-performing services, to the value of £280,632, to be deleted. The appendix lists the services. Again, the services which will remain require a lower subsidy per passenger.

5.8 These services generally carry more passengers and meet basic needs for travel to work, shopping, education and healthcare. However, close review of the contracts concerned reveals a small number of routes where rationalisation is possible whilst maintaining facilities for the majority of passengers, either at alternative times on those services or on an alternative route. Most of the affected passengers will still be able to make their journey. For example, an off-peak shopping journey can be made an hour earlier or later than at present, or passengers may have less choice of return buses. The point is that whilst day-time services meet more journey purposes than evening or Sunday buses, under these proposals there is an alternative for the affected communities. The proposals are listed in the appendix and would realise savings of some £121,563 per year; details of the alternative services are listed alongside these.

5.9 Travel patterns and levels of use change over time and as some routes become more popular, others become less well used. The reductions in weekday day-time services are prudent housekeeping measures in response to this trend. To enable the transport network as a whole to adapt to changing travel needs, the County Council has introduced the passenger transport area review process. Each area review has engaged widely with the local community and considered access to services and community profile, and whether regular or flexible transport could best match the changing needs of residents, whilst at the same time ensuring that where funding is needed this is affordable within the context of available budget provision.

6. Impact Assessments

6.1 It is considered that the actions outlined above should not have any detrimental impact on equalities or race discrimination.

6.2 The review showed that, for a given level of funding, travel needs for different groups at different times of day could be best met by concentrating expenditure on the main day-time services, when most users, of all ages, with or without disabilities, travel for the majority of journey purposes.

6.3 The County Council is specifically required to have regard to the needs of elderly and disabled passengers. Such people tend to travel less in the evenings. It is considered that the mix of services proposed for withdrawal safeguards their interests as far as practicable within the available budget.

7. Conclusion

7.1 By implementing the measures outlined above, the 2007/08 and 2008/09 budget will be balanced.

LINK(S) TO CORPORATE STRATEGY

Yes

No

Hampshire safer and more secure for all

Maximising well-being

Enhancing our quality of place

Section 100 D - Local Government Act 1972 - background papers

The following documents disclose facts or matters on which this report, or an important part of it, is based and has been relied upon to a material extent in the preparation of this report.

NB the list excludes:

1.

Published works.

2.

Documents which disclose exempt or confidential information as defined in the Act.

TITLE

LOCATION

None

1390Rpt/KAW

APPENDIX

Services Proposed for Withdrawal

Sunday Services

Operator and Service No.

Service

Annual Saving

Average Passengers per Bus Journey Affected

First

Service 29/30

Gosport-Haslar

(will continue commercially)

£250

0

First

Service 45B

Portsmouth-Cosham-Hambledon

£8,000

6.8

Wilts and Dorset

Service 56

Southampton-Lyndhurst-Lymington

£15,200

9.5

Stagecoach

Service 69

Winchester-

Bishops Waltham-Fareham

£18,841

16.8

Solent Blue Line Bluestar 2

Southampton-Eastleigh-Fair Oak

(reduce to hourly)

£21,000

21.0

Stagecoach Service 39

(Early morning and evening)

Havant-

Wecock Farm

£5,222

14.0

First Service 96

Fareham-Highlands-Thorni Avenue

£2,000

5.8

Sunday

Evenings Only

Operator and Service No.

Service

Annual Saving

Average Passengers per Bus Journey Affected

 Stagecoach Service 1

Withdraw

after 1915 hrs

Stagecoach

Service 2

Withdraw

after 1915 hrs

Stagecoach

Service 3

Withdraw

after 1915 hrs

Stagecoach

Service 5

Withdraw

after 1915 hrs

Stagecoach

Service 6

Withdraw

after 1915 hrs

Stagecoach

Service 7

Withdraw

after 1915 hrs

Stagecoach

Service 8

Withdraw

after 1915 hrs

Hatch Warren-Basingstoke-Chineham

Brighton Hill-Basingstoke-Baughurst

East Popley-Basingstoke-

South Ham

Basingstoke-North Hampshire Hospital

Basingstoke-Winklebury

Basingstoke-Black Dam

East Oakley-Basingstoke-Old Basing

£11,200

6.0

Stagecoach

Service 1/2/3

Withdraw

after 1915 hrs

Aldershot-Farnborough-Camberley-Yateley

£6,900

9.0

First

Service 34

Withdraw after 1900 hrs

Fareham-Lee-Gosport

£2,200

3.9

First

Service 72

Withdraw

after 1948 hrs

Southampton-

Locks Heath-Gosport

£850

10.0

Sunday

Evenings Only

Operator and Service No.

Service

Annual Saving

Average Passengers per Bus Journey Affected

First Service 88A

Withdraw after 1900 hrs

Gosport-Rowner-Fareham

£2,000

4.7

Stagecoach

Service 30/31

Withdraw after 1850 hrs

Havant-

Hayling Island

£2,000

6.0

First

Service 79

Withdraw after

1755 hrs

Southampton-

Locks Heath

£630

3.9

Stagecoach

Service 1

Withdraw after 1815 hrs

Stagecoach

Service 5

Withdraw after 1815 hrs

Stagecoach

Service 6

Withdraw after 1815 hrs

 Stanmore-Winchester-Harestock

Badger Farm-Winchester-Winnall

Winchester-

Springvale

£9,315

2.0

First Service 16/17A

Withdraw after

1930 hrs

Southampton-

Hamble

£500

8.6

Wilts & Dorset Service 121 (summer)

Withdraw after 1900 hrs

Lymington-New Milton-Bournemouth

£1,000

6.5

TOTAL £107,108

Weekday Evenings

Operator and Service No.

Service

Annual Saving

Average Passengers per Bus

Journey Affected

 Stagecoach

Service 5

Withdraw after 1915 hrs

Stagecoach

Service 7

Withdraw after 1915 hrs

Basingstoke-

North Hampshire Hospital

Basingstoke-

Black Dam

£21,490

5.0

3.0

Stagecoach

Service 8

Withdraw after 1915 hrs

East Oakley-Basingstoke-

Old Basing

£27,500

8.0

Stagecoach

Service 18

Withdraw after 1915 hrs

Aldershot-Haslemere

£36,731

20.0

First

Service 45

Withdraw Fri/Sat journeys after 1930 hrs

Portsmouth-Cosham-Hambledon

£17,000

5.7

Solent Blue Line

Service C

Withdraw after 1915 hrs

Eastleigh-Hiltingbury

£14,900

3.6

First

Service 34

Fareham-Lee-Gosport

£17,000

9.8

First

Service 80B

Fareham-Titchfield-Southampton

£16,720

8.2

First Service 93/95

Fareham Highlands Circular

£4,000

2.2

Stagecoach

Service 76

Andover-Whitchurch-Basingstoke

£23,130

11.6

Wilts and Dorset

Service X3

Renegotiated but unaffected

Salisbury-Fordingbridge-Ringwood-Bournemouth

£15,106

0

Stagecoach

Service 69

Withdraw after 1940 hrs

Winchester-

Bishops Waltham-Fareham

£13,670

3.7

First

Service 16/17A

Southampton-Hamble

£12,800

8.1

Operator and Service No.

Service

Annual Saving

Average Passengers per Bus

Journey Affected

Wilts and Dorset Service 121

Lymington-New Milton-Bournemouth

£1,710

7.2

Stagecoach

Service 30/31

Havant-

Hayling Island

£20,250

8.4

Stagecoach Service 39

Havant-

Wecock Farm

£21,675

10.9

Stagecoach Service 1

Reduce to hourly

Stanmore-Winchester-Harestock

£14,560

4.2

Stagecoach Service 5

Withdraw 2005 and 2105 journeys

Badger Farm-Winchester

£2,390

11.0 (but hourly frequency remains)

TOTAL £280,632

Weekday Day-times

Operator and Service No.

Service

Annual Saving

Average Passengers per Bus Journey Affected

Alternative Services

 Stagecoach

Service 13

Reduce in School Holidays

Stagecoach

Service 72

Reduce in School Holidays

Alton-Liphook

Alton-Petersfield

£8,600

4.0

Reduced frequency would mean that off-peak passengers would have a lesser choice of return times.

Stagecoach

Service 44

Withdraw some

off-peak journeys

Basingstoke-

Bramley-Tadley

£9,400

3.0

Passengers on the sections of route served only by this service would have a lesser choice of return times.

Stagecoach

Service 9

Withdraw early morning journeys

Basingstoke-Lychpit

£4,630

13.0

Passengers travelling between Lychpit and Winklebury could travel via Basingstoke town centre and change buses.

Stagecoach

Service 9

Withdraw

one am peak journey

Basingstoke-Lychpit

£16,330

31.0

Passengers travelling between Lychpit and Winklebury could travel via Basingstoke town centre and change buses.

Stagecoach

Service 12

Old Basing-Chineham

£15,996

11.0

Passengers from Old Basing would have to use Basingstoke town centre shops instead of Chineham centre.

Stagecoach

Service 6A

Winchester-

Abbotts Barton

£10,747

6.5

Passengers could walk up to half a mile to access Service 6.

Operator and Service No.

Service

Annual Saving

Average Passengers per Bus Journey Affected

Alternative Services

Stagecoach Service 46 Withdraw four off-peak journeys

Winchester-Valley Park-Southampton

£28,670

10.1

Passengers could travel one hour earlier or later.

Stagecoach

Service 67

Withdraw four off-peak journeys

Winchester-

Cheriton-

Petersfield

£4,090

14.0

Passengers could travel one hour earlier or later.

Wilts and Dorset

Service 56

Withdraw experimental journey

Lyndhurst-Lymington

£12,800

1.2

No alternative - only one or two passengers use this journey.

Wilts and Dorset

Service 121

Withdraw one morning off-peak journey

New Milton-Lymington

£10,300

6.5

Passengers on one journey would have to travel one hour later.

TOTAL

£121,563