Bus network review
At its meeting on 22 September, Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve the outcome of the review of Local Travel Arrangements (LTAs) which has been necessary due to COVID-19 and the further loss of local commercial bus services.
The Council has no legal obligation to provide local bus services or any other form of public transport, however, the Council does have a statutory duty to keep the bus network under review and to intervene where it feels appropriate.
In July 2018, Cabinet approved a new transport model for bus services comprising of a core bus network supported by sustainable LTAs. The Core Network includes a number of key destinations (hubs), such as main towns or public transport interchanges / railway stations with direct, high frequency bus services operating between the hubs to link passengers to other key destination hubs for access to education, employment, shopping, health, social and leisure opportunities. The core network predominantly consists of commercial bus services; however, some support has continued to be provided to ensure that connections are maintained and that regular, high quality services continue to link the key hubs along the network. This core network is supported by sustainable LTAs which have been successfully introduced in several areas of the county.
As more commercial services have been withdrawn by operators a review of the existing LTA services became necessary to ensure those services could be better used to provide vital transport links for residents impacted by the loss of these commercial services.
Flintshire County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Countryside, Councillor Carolyn Thomas, said:
“Obviously the COVID-19 situation has greatly hindered the review of our LTAs. Since lockdown ended, we have had to mitigate reduced passenger numbers on vehicles and issue revised timetables to accommodate passenger requirements and this seems to be working well. Although we are very much in the recovery stage, operators have reported a rise in confidence among transport users.
“A review of LTA services in Holywell and the surrounding communities is due to start soon and I am pleased to say that the Council has been successful in securing Welsh Government funding for two electric buses to be used on the LT7 and LT4 services. They will be based in Buckley and it’s great that these vehicles will be powered by the Council’s own energy source from a nearby solar farm.”
The Council’s review of LTAs continues to be an ongoing process and further proposals are currently being explored for the coming months.