The budget for 2018/19 saw a reduction in funding for supported bus services of £455K. This reduction in funding would require a reduction in the number of services supported. KCC committed to delivering any reduction through partnership working with operators, to identify opportunities where existing commercial services could mitigate changes or commercial initiatives could be implemented.
For background, bus services in Kent fall into two categories:
·Commercially (profit-making) operated services.
·Subsidised (KCC funded) services.
Since bus privatisation in 1985, operators in Kent run routes on a commercial basis, where there are enough passengers to fund the service. Around 97% of journeys in Kent run in this way – with around 40 operators covering 600 services – without any funding from Kent County Council (KCC). But not all of Kent’s bus services are run on a purely commercial basis. For the last 30 years, KCC has funded some routes which, while not commercially viable, have been considered important to the needs of the communities and passengers they serve.
Operators have presented KCC with proposals that will enable KCC to reduce spend, whilst being able to protect school services and ensurethose communities currently served still have access to transport. These proposals were presented to ETCC on the 20th March 2018 and approval was granted to go to public consultation.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Division affected: Birchington & Rural; Broadstairs; Cliftonville; Malling West; Margate; Ramsgate; Sevenoaks North & Darent Valley; Sevenoaks Rural South;
Notice of proposed decision first published: 17/12/2018
Decision due: Not before 17th Jan 2019 by Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport and Waste
Reason: In order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days. in accordance with statutory requirements
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport and Waste
Lead director: Simon Jones
Department: Growth, Environment & Transport
Contact: Philip Lightowler, Interim Director of Transportation 03000 414073 Email: Philip.Lightowler@kent.gov.uk Tel: 03000414073.
This was considered and endorsed at the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee on 17 January 2019.
Financial implications: The £410k savings provided by these service changes will support a balanced budget.
Legal implications: The Transport Act 1985 requires that Local Transport Authorities consider socially necessary bus services. Expenditure in this area remains discretionary activity with LTAs having no obligation to subsidise these services. Services carrying children with a statutory entitlement to free transport to school under the education act are unaffected by these proposals. Failure to take due consideration of the implications carries a possible risk of decisions being subject to judicial review. This consultation and provided EqIA mitigates this risk. Public Transport Team has sought advice from other authorities and is satisfied that the proposed consultation and related EqIA is consistent.
Equalities implications: Both public consultation were supported by an EqIA. Following the public consultation the EqIA have been updated based on the consultation responses. The EqIA process identified that there would be a greater impact on the elderly, disabled persons and disabled carers. The planned service changes have sought to mitigate this impact