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Author Topic: Bus services in Cornwall - route and operator changes - First Bus, Plymouth Citybus, Western Greyhound  (Read 31760 times)
Chris from Nailsea
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« on: October 08, 2013, 11:39:15 pm »

From the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page):

Quote
Cornwall Council has said it "cannot rule out" the loss of further bus services with low passenger numbers.

The warning comes as it reveals full details of changes to Cornwall's bus routes - including some services to replace those that were to be axed.

The cuts were blamed on reductions in the council's public transport budget and commercial decisions by the operators, Western Greyhound and First. Some decisions affected entire routes and others, the frequency of journeys.

Councillor Bert Biscoe, the portfolio holder for highways and transport, said he expected a further cut in government bus subsidy next year. "There is little doubt, that without sufficient funding, the face of rural bus services will change and, going forward, we cannot rule out the loss of services where passenger numbers are particularly low," he said.

The council said it had been working with the bus companies, sought advice from bus user groups and investigated other solutions, such as services run by community bus groups and voluntary organisations, to protect some services.

"The council's staff and bus operators have worked together to come up with a revised network which, while somewhat reduced, does ensure that those who need buses can get buses," Mr Biscoe said.

Gordon Edwards, from TravelWatch SouthWest, added: "Our local members have worked tirelessly... to minimise the impact of these changes on bus users and ensure that people can still access colleges and schools, places of work, hospitals, health and day centres and local shops. It is, however, recognised that a very small minority of existing bus users will unfortunately still suffer inconvenience from these service revisions."

The changes will come into effect from 3 November and details of timetable changes can be found at www.travelinesw.com.
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2013, 12:14:27 pm »

Nice to see new timetables have still not been published !!! If this was the railway it would cause uproar. Politicians wonder why Joe Public dislike using buses Huh??
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Kernow Otter
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2013, 12:53:23 pm »

The daft thing about this is that if Cornwall (or other) Councils were allowed to charge even ^ 1 for a return trip to the users of the free bus pass, then there would be significantly more funds available to further subsidise more routes.  It is Central Government that prevents this, and I suspect that any scheme like this would be vetoed for purely political reasons.

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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2013, 06:01:26 pm »

The daft thing about this is that if Cornwall (or other) Councils were allowed to charge even ^ 1 for a return trip to the users of the free bus pass, then there would be significantly more funds available to further subsidise more routes.  It is Central Government that prevents this, and I suspect that any scheme like this would be vetoed for purely political reasons.



Currently the bus company gets 43p per journey by concessionary pass holders.
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grahame
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2013, 06:31:03 pm »

Currently the bus company gets 43p per journey by concessionary pass holders.

I had heard that payments were 43p (44p in Wilts? Somewhere between the two?) in the pound, rather than per journey.  So on a single fare of 4 pounds, the bus operator would get 1.76 on my understanding, but only 43p on yours.  Huge difference - does it really differ in that way between counties, or has one of us been misinformed?
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2013, 06:53:39 pm »

I think it can differ between counties.  AFAIK (as far as I know), the national government provides a base rate of reimbursement but the county council may top up the reimbursement themselves. Cornwall Council reduced the subsidy it paid a couple of years ago which lead to fears being raised by the bus companies that services would have to be cut.
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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2013, 07:13:10 pm »

Currently the bus company gets 43p per journey by concessionary pass holders.

I had heard that payments were 43p (44p in Wilts? Somewhere between the two?) in the pound, rather than per journey.  So on a single fare of 4 pounds, the bus operator would get 1.76 on my understanding, but only 43p on yours.  Huge difference - does it really differ in that way between counties, or has one of us been misinformed?

I was basing on a comment by a local but large independent company's CEO (Chief Executive Officer) comments in a local paper. I suspect it may have been edited as Cornwall Council's FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) state the bus operator gets a percentage of the commercial fare.
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stuving
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2013, 07:18:37 pm »

[I was basing on a comment by a local but large independent company's CEO (Chief Executive Officer) comments in a local paper. I suspect it may have been edited as Cornwall Council's FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) state the bus operator gets a percentage of the commercial fare.
DafT have guidance, written for TCAs (Track Circuit Actuator) (Travel Concession Authorities), at:
http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/guidance-for-travel-concession-authorities-on-the-england-national-concessionary-travel-scheme/travelconcession.pdf
It includes:
Quote
Reimbursement

1.59 TCAs are required by law to reimburse bus operators for carrying concessionary
passengers, on the principle that the operators are "no better off and no worse
off" by taking part in concessionary travel schemes. The aim is not to subsidise
bus operators, but to pay for any increased costs that they have incurred.

1.60 Reimbursement of bus operators is divided into two elements: revenue forgone
and net additional costs. Revenue forgone is the reimbursement of fares that
operators would have received from concessionary journeys that would have
been made in the absence of a scheme. The average fare forgone is generally
not the same as the quoted commercial cash fare but should be calculated as an average of all ticket types that would have been available to concessionaires in
the absence of the scheme.

1.61 The proportion of observed concessionary journeys that are made purely
because of the concession are referred to as ^generated journeys^. The only extra
funding requirement associated with generated journeys should be the net
additional costs that bus operators incur from these additional journeys. These
are namely wear and tear on buses and possible costs from changes in service
frequency or density. In very exceptional cases, net additional costs will include
the costs to operators of buying an extra vehicle to cater for generated journeys.

1.62 Calculating concessionary travel reimbursement is predicated on determining
what would have happened in the absence of the concessionary scheme and
requires TCAs to estimate the following components of reimbursement:
* The fares that operators would have offered and concessionary travellers
paid in the absence of the concession
* The proportion of total observed concessionary journeys that would have
been made in the absence of the concession
* Any net additional costs that operators have incurred as a result of the
concession.
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grahame
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2013, 07:42:00 pm »

... a comment by a local but large independent company's CEO (Chief Executive Officer) comments in a local paper. I suspect it may have been edited as Cornwall Council's FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) state the bus operator gets a percentage of the commercial fare ...

Would this be a clue to the company?   



Their MD, Mark Howarth, has helped provide a fascinating insight into bus operations and their trials, tribulations and finance at TravelWatch SouthWest (where he is greatly welcomed and respected) over the years, and indeed updated us at the start of this month.  It's "pence in the pound" rather than "pence";  I would suggest, as you say, the words "in the pound" were lost in editorial trimming of the article.
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Kernow Otter
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2013, 07:48:22 pm »

Suppose I was coming at it a different way, ie charging the user a pound a trip, so free bus travel becomes subsidised bus travel, and on the basis of 43p a trip, a ^ 1 charge would cover the council's contribution to a return trip, allowing them to spend that money on other buses or one of the many other areas that local government has to spend money.
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LiskeardRich
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2013, 07:52:48 pm »

Grahame that is a correct clue to the company. Reading other documentation I am now 99% certain the "in the pound" has been lost in editing.
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stuving
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2013, 10:25:18 pm »

It's not hard to find some figures from the DfT» (Department for Transport - about) site.
Latest figures (mostly 2011-2012) for non-metropolitatian counties:

  • average reimbursement per ENTCS journey:  100p
  • average annual journeys per ENTCS pass:  70
  • total operating revenue per bus journey:  165p
  • total net government support per bus journey (all journeys):  70p

London shows much more usage and lower payment per journey, with metropolitan counties in between.

Each TCA (Track Circuit Actuator) is required to pick its own formula for reimbursements, either using one of the DfT's suggestions or inventing their own. That may explain why I can't find any data for individual TCAs.

The data are actually on www.gov.uk, at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bus-statistics
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Sleepy
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« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2013, 08:02:06 pm »

Some of the new timetables have now appeared on the First website.
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GBM
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« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2013, 01:14:25 pm »

Some of the new timetables have now appeared on the First website.

Unfortunately, some of those published are incorrect & will be changed - slightly!
The centralised planning service in Plymouth are spending a lot of time talking to local depots. This harks back to my comment many months ago on the forum (to Scott) about schedulers being remote and having little or no working knowledge of the area they're forecasting for.
At this late stage of the game, only major problems are being ironed out & the 'smaller' ones ignored - i.e. a trip from A to B takes 5 minutes, but only 3 minutes allowed from B to A, etc.
Drivers are naturally being asked about what's happening to service x,y,z.  In all honesty, they/we don't know.  Many rumours, no facts.
Drivers won't know until they sign on that morning & look at their board as to where & when they're going (or look online & guess).
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FarWestJohn
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« Reply #14 on: October 25, 2013, 07:42:14 pm »

The cuts should be good for the Falmouth branch as all Sunday evening buses between Truro and Falmouth have been chopped.
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