Item 11

Report to the

Date: 15 July 2008

Report by: Andrew Dyer, South Hampshire Bus Operators' Association

tel: 01243 536161 email: andrew.dyer@stagecoachbus.com

Subject: South Hampshire Bus Operators' Association

Purpose of the Report

This report advises the Joint Committee of the establishment of a new organisation, covering all the bus operators in South Hampshire and outlines its ambitions for working closely with the Joint Committee and its partners to improve the role of the bus in addressing transport challenges.

Recommendations

1. That the Joint Committee welcomes the formation of the South Hampshire Bus Operators' Association as a single voice of the bus industry for the purposes of strategic planning and partnership.

2, That the South Hampshire Bus Operators' Association works closely with Transport for South Hampshire to establish a bus element to the Multi Area Agreement and a Punctuality Improvement Partnership.

3. That the South Hampshire Bus Operators' Association and Transport for South Hampshire explore joint funding opportunities to enhance infrastructure investment and management to benefit bus operations.

4. That the Joint Committee considers inviting South Hampshire Bus Operators' Association to become a standing non-voting member of the Transport for South Hampshire Joint Committee.

Introduction

1. At the last meeting, the Joint Committee received a brief presentation from Richard Soper on behalf of the bus operators. This outlined the key role played by the bus, with services provided by 14 different operators, large and small, operating some 640 buses across South Hampshire. Most of these operate commercially, rather than as a `social service' and are well placed to offer an attractive solution to the sub-region's transport problems. The delivery of such a solution, however, does not fall wholly within the remit of any single organisation. It is suggested that a constructive partnership is the only way forward.

2. Since the last meeting the operators have formed an operators' association, the South Hampshire Bus Operators' Association (SHBOA), to advance this objective.

What is SHBOA?

3. The bus operators within the sub-region have come together to form the South Hampshire Bus Operators' Association, whose primary objective is to act as an interface between the bus industry with Transport for South Hampshire (TfSH). It is stressed that matters of commercial business between individual operators are expressly outside the remit of this association. The organisation's creation has unanimous support amongst both large and small operators of registered bus services.

4. A Board has been established to represent SHBOA on a day-to-day basis, and seats on that Board are based on the number of buses operating within the TfSH sub-region. As with the Solent Travelcard Management Committee, there is a guaranteed seat for the smaller operators collectively.

5. The initial Board members are:

6. All the bus operators are keen to fulfil their potential within the new organisation and endorse the broad objectives of TfSH. SHBOA wishes to engage fully as a legitimate single industry voice with TfSH on a range of fronts with a view to making as rapid progress as possible in delivering the TfSH goals.

7. These include the vision of creating an improved public transport offer based on the three tiers of:

8. All the operators within SHBOA are committing to the principle of bringing investment in improved rolling stock (including very high specification vehicles) and training, and are ready to explore forward guarantees where there is significant infrastructure commitment from TfSH and/or the Councils, and where this gives real priority to public transport over private transport.

9. A core principle of SHBOA is the maintenance of an active public transport market as far as possible. This means SHBOA will be seeking to work with TfSH to devise ways of delivering the TfSH vision which continues to give passengers a choice at the point of purchase (ie the bus stop) through the unrestricted operation of market forces as far as possible. SHBOA believes this can be done even where significant infrastructure commitment has been made by TfSH, and have some practical solutions to propose. SHBOA is certain it can devise a formula that will give the TfSH authorities `quality guaranteed' open access solutions to the operational component of their infrastructure investment.

SHBOA's Manifesto

10. There are four immediate areas where the Board of SHBOA is keen to work with TfSH. The first is the formulation of the Multi Area Agreement proposals. We know you are keen to include a `bus' aspect within these and we are ideally positioned to work with you on behalf of the operators to ensure this is done effectively. This is a great opportunity to break new ground to the benefit of our communities and we are keen to discuss how we can optimise it.

11. Secondly, we see real benefit in using the combination of SHBOA and TfSH to cut out duplication of effort at the individual company/individual local authority level. All the operators want to see Punctuality Improvement Partnerships in place throughout the sub-region, and all the Councils have an obligation to take action to improve bus punctuality. The operators have agreed that SHBOA should negotiate a template Punctuality Improvement Partnership Agreement for use within the sub-region to which we will all consider ourselves committed.

12. Thirdly, we are ready, in principle, to enter into discussion with TfSH concerning the joint funding of certain positions which are designed to enhance the infrastructure investment to the benefit of both operators and the authorities. We envisage these will primarily be concerned with enforcement (eg ensuring bus lane abuse is effectively addressed) but we recognise they may also have a more general promotional role. Again we would be breaking new ground here, and will both have to work from first principles, but we are keen to pursue this.

13. Finally, we hope the Members of TfSH will recognise that the creation of SHBOA is very much about working together towards common goals and maintaining the spirit of partnership between Local Authorities and bus operators which has been the hallmark of the sub-region for many years. As a recognition of this partnership, SHBOA would ask that its representation be formalised by means of a standing invitation to join the TfSH Joint Committee, as a non-voting member.

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.

 

Sth Hants Bus Operators' Assocn