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Bus Network Review

Published: 24/04/2018

Flintshire County Council is undertaking a review of the County’s subsidised bus services over the coming months to establish a sustainable, equitable and effective transport network for the future. Currently, more than 55 bus routes operate across Flintshire on a daily basis. These journeys are operated by private bus companies, which either run commercial bus services or routes subsidised by Flintshire County Council. Commercial routes are operated solely by private bus companies with no input from the local authority on route direction or financial support, whereas subsidised routes are those funded wholly, or partially, by the Council. Around 60% of bus services in Flintshire are operated commercially and 40% are subsidised. This subsidy totals £1,068,352 per annum (including Welsh Government Bus Service Support Grant Funding). There is no statutory duty upon the Council to provide local bus services, or fund any form of public transport, but the Council does have a statutory duty under the 1985 and 2000 Transport Acts to keep the bus network under review, and intervene where it feels appropriate. Historically, the subsidised bus routes in Flintshire have been established on a piecemeal basis, sometimes without real justification or business case for support. There is therefore a need to carry out a comprehensive review of the network and consider the commercial and supported network as a whole to ensure that it best reflects the current travel patterns of passengers and meets the evolving demand for transport to new developments. The review will consider the current supported bus network and how best to prioritise increasingly limited public funding where there is most need and ensure that service delivery is consistent, fair and equitable across the County. Accordingly, the review will include areas of the County not currently served by public transport and consider the current commercial provision of services to key centres and identify any gaps where there is an existing or future need. A six week consultation begins on 23 April 2018, which will seek the opinion of members of the public and key stakeholders on the most appropriate transport solution in their local area. The consultation will seek to identify current travel patterns, including where and when transport is needed, the purpose of travel and which, of the proposed options, will deliver a sustainable transport solution into future. To aid this, the County has been divided in to four geographical areas to prioritise and focus the transport need for individual communities. Within these areas, four options are being presented for consideration. These are to 1) Stop subsidising bus routes completely 2) Continue with the current subsidised routes only 3) Support bus routes on the core bus network and introduce Local Travel Arrangements in areas off the core network (such as rural communities) 4) Support bus routes on the core bus network and introduce a demand responsive ‘ring and ride’ service for in areas off the core network (such as rural communities). Cabinet member for Streetscene and Countryside, Councillor Carolyn Thomas, said: “I understand the importance of bus transport; for many people it is a lifeline and I am committed to doing the best we can in Flintshire to provide an effective, affordable and sustainable bus service. I encourage as many people as possible to take part in the consultation to ensure that the views of the public help shape the future of transport within our communities. There will be a number of community engagement events where people can speak to officers to of the authority for further information and officers will be travelling on buses to speak to passengers for their views. If you have a community group or society that would benefit from a meeting on this consultation please contact Streetscene officers.” Details on how to take part in the consultation can be found of the Flintshire web site or from Flintshire Connects centres and there will be 5 public engagement sessions in the County for residents to speak to officer of the authority for more information: Hawksbury Community Centre, Buckley – 26 April 2018 Mold Town Hall – 27 April 2018 Holywell Town Council Offices – 2 May 2018 Connahs Quay Civic Centre – 3 May 2018 Flint Town Hall – 10 May 2018 For further information please contact or 01352 701234.