Further year’s funding agreed to keep community transport services on the road

With the COVID-19 pandemic still having an impact on levels of all public and community transport use across the county, Hampshire County Council has agreed to maintain contract payments for community transport operators at 100% from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023

Jan 31 2022

At his decision day meeting (27 January), Councillor Russell Oppenheimer, Executive Member for Highways Operations, agreed a recommendation to continue the policy, implemented during the early stage of the pandemic, of paying 100% contract payments to community transport operators. The move will assist those operators in the recovery and operation of their services, supporting them to maintain service levels whist they experience lower than usual passenger numbers, and user confidence rebuilds during the coming financial year.

Councillor Oppenheimer said: “By extending this support for a further year, I am confident that the longer-term resilience of the community transport sector will be strengthened. It is another way in which the County Council is demonstrating its commitment to assisting the recovery of Hampshire’s economy in the wake of the Covid pandemic. With the national Bus Back Better strategy in mind, this move to provide vital support to the community transport sector, will also reinforce the positive and productive partnership working between the county’s transport operators and Hampshire County Council.

“I completely agree that we should do what we can to keep these services running while passenger numbers gradually recover. Community transport serves some of the most vulnerable and isolated in our communities, acting as an important lifeline to enable them to travel for shopping, leisure and socialising or to get to health appointments.”

Community transport operators have reported that around 35% fewer passengers are travelling than before the pandemic. The support agreed is consistent with the latest advice from the Department for Transport and has no adverse budgetary impact on the County Council.

More details about the support for local community transport services can be found in the decision report, published online: https://democracy.hants.gov.uk/documents/s90059/Report.pdf