- The Department for Transport has announced a £60 million fund to transform rail stations: rail operators and councils have until the end of May to submit bids.
- The Government has announced a major upgrade to the 86 mile rail line connecting Peterborough with Lincoln and Doncaster, allowing two freight trains per hour to be diverted from the East Coast mainline.
- more than 300 local authorities and community groups across England will receive new minibuses from a Department for Transport £25 million fund – announced 26 March 2015. A list of successful applications is available
- Total Transport Pilot Fund – winning bids announced 27 March 2015 – £7.6 million available
- The Office for Low Emission Vehicles has announced a £30 million Low Emission Bus Scheme to operate between April 2016 and March 2019 – open to all operators and local authorities in England and Wales. Guidance is available at
The Transport Select Committee issued a report ‘Investing in the Railway’ on 23 January 2015
(Local Transport Today 664 23 January)
(Local Transport Today 664 23 January)
The Campaign for Better Transport has produced a ‘Buses in Crisis’ report:
Bids are invited by the DfT from local authorities for funding to implement Total Transport – a cross sector approach to the delivery of supported passenger transport.
Community Transport operator funding EU state aid rules:
Traveline GB app was released on the iTunes store yesterday morning:
The app is free to download and provides:
- GB door to door journey planning across all modes and all operators
- Live departures for bus
- Interactive mapping allowing route tracking in journey
- Audio and visual announcement of the next stop on the journey
- Audio announcement of the next departures due from a selected stop
- Twitter integration; tweets about travel in and around the customer’s known location
The free version of the app is supported by advertising. Ad-free version available for £2.49. The Android app will follow in March and Windows in May.
At last Friday’s business meeting, members discussed topics ranging from the decision by the Cabinet of Liverpool City Council to suspend the use of bus lanes in Liverpool for nine months, to the difficulties faced by young people in accessing bus services.
The panel session which followed examined the following topics:
Passenger Focus research into the views of passengers on bus punctuality, and their experiences of delays and disruptions, and
Transport Poverty, which focuses on the difficulty in accessing services for people and their lack of choice when they live more than a mile from services and are reliant on public transport.
Presentations were given by Mike Bartram of Passenger Focus and Allan Williams of Sustrans (Transport Poverty) on their research into these topics.
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Don’t forget the Public Transport Consortium Summer Conference, which is being hosted by Devon County Council in Sidmouth on 5th & 6th July.
The conference will focus on current issues affecting public transport provision in the context of the comprehensive spending review and ensuing budget pressures. The programme will include:
• An assessment of the national scene and future direction by the DfT
• How Devon is tackling the issues, including community rail, community transport and wheels to work and the lessons that can be learned.
• Growing patronage from the operator perspective
• Innovation and Opportunities
The full programme starts at 12.30pm on Thursday 5 July with lunch and concludes with lunch at 1.00pm on Friday 6 July.
Downloadable information is here:
Further information and booking details are available from
Rachel Phillips at Devon on 01392 383509 or email:
The summer conference provides an excellent opportunity for members and officers to discuss issues of common interest relating to public transport. It also provides a forum for public transport officers to learn more about current challenges in their everyday work and to take back ideas for future improvements.
Please consider your authority’s representation at this event.
Come along to our meeting next Friday at LGA House to discuss the question “Where now for local bus services?” with a panel representing central and local government and major bus operators.
- Cllr Shona Johnstone, Cambridgeshire County Council and LGA Economy & Transport Board
- Tracy Jessop, Norfolk County Council and Chair of the Association of Transport Co-ordinating Officers
- Anthony Ferguson, Head of Buses Division, Department for Transport
- Ian Morgan, Trent Barton Buses & Chair of the Confederation of Passenger Transport
- Mark Yexley, Arriva Buses & President Elect of the Confederation of Passenger Transport
- Ben Colson, Managing Director Norfolk Green, Bus Operator of the year 2010
Following the investigation into the market for local bus services by the Competition Commission and the Transport Select Committee Inquiry into Bus Services after the Spending Review, we hope that this debate will lead to some innovative thinking on the best ways in which bus operators and local authorities can work together within current legislation to deliver high quality bus services and ensure maximum impact from public funding and support.
The debate will be facilitated by Transport Consultant, Garth Goddard. If you want to have an opportunity to contribute to the debate, please send your questions in advance to the Secretary, Stuart Wrigley
You can now follow us on Twitter, simply goto http://twitter.com/ptconsortium and click follow.
If you’d like to know more about Twitter, checkout our twitter guide
LGA Public Transport Consortium January 2012 Meeting
Friday 20 January 2012 at Local Government House, Smith Square, Westminster
The outline agenda will be as follows:
10.30-11.20 Business Meeting
11.30–13.00 Where now for local bus services? A panel discussion
The investigation into the market for local bus services by the Competition Commission and the Transport Select Committee Inquiry into Bus Services after the Spending Review do not seem to have contributed many new ideas about local bus services. Hence, it seems an appropriate time to pose the question with a panel discussion looking at the future for local bus services and best ways for local authorities and operators to work in partnership to make the best use of funding available.
We hope that this debate will lead to some innovative thinking on the best ways in which bus operators and local authorities can work together within current legislation to deliver high quality bus services and ensure maximum impact from public funding and support.
The panel will bring together representatives of the public and private sector to set out their views and offer their answers to this challenging question:
Cllr Shona Johnstone: Cambridgeshire County Council and LGA Economy & Transport Board
Tracy Jessop: Norfolk County Council and Chair of the Association of Transport Co-ordinating Officers
Anthony Ferguson: Head of Buses Division, Department for Transport
Ian Morgan: Chair of the Confederation of Passenger Transport
Mark Yexley: President Elect of the Confederation of Passenger Transport
Ben Colson: Managing Director Norfolk Green, Bus Operator of the year 2010
Further information and a detailed agenda and papers for the business meeting will be circulated nearer the time and I hope that it will be convenient for you to attend. I should be pleased if you could let me know if there are any specific questions that you would like to pose to the panel.
And finally…may I take this opportunity of thanking you all for your support for the Consortium during 2011 and wish you all the very best for a peaceful Christmas and a successful New Year in 2012.
LGA Public Transport Consortium
01253 727950 – 07799 767347
Notice from Tracy Jessop, Assistant Director Travel and Transport Services at Norfolk County Council and Vice Chair of ATCO:
There was an interesting debate in Westminster Hall yesterday, 11 October, on “The Future of Rural Bus Funding”. The debate was called for by a Norfolk MP on the back of the Norfolk “Fair Fares” campaign to highlight the funding issues in public transport, and in particular the shortfall in concessionary fares funding.
My Leader wrote to over 30 councils last week, to ask them to brief their MPs and rally some support, as well as to support the e-petition.
Over 30 MPs attended, including MPs from Norfolk, Cornwall, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Suffolk, Northumberland, Isle of Wight, Lancashire and Cumbria plus others that I didn’t catch.
I’ve highlighted the key parts of the debate below, but would draw your attention to Norman Baker’s response, who was given 15 minutes at the end to answer the many queries raised. If you want to view the debate you can follow this link – it lasts for 90 minutes
Key points from the debate
• Very well attended by more than 30 MPs – unusual, as normally an audience of 12 or so for this type of thing – and there was a big debate on Health at the same time in the Commons
• Overwhelming sense of the need to protect rural areas to promote access, but also to support economic growth and reduce congestion
• Recognition that the impacts of funding shortfalls in concessionary fares are having a negative impact on services provided for all people, as the money available to support the tendered network reduces
• Calls for overview of the concession fares scheme – reinforced by over 14 councils that people would be prepared to pay something to travel or pay for their card
• Lots of examples given by MPs about particular issues in their patch – consistent message was a need for local solutions and more freedom and flexibility from government about how to use the funding available
Key points from Norman Baker’s response
• The free bus pass stays [for this parliament]
• Government accepts there is a problem with funding of concessions for some areas (this is a major change in tact – has always said “local decisions” up till now)
• DfT wrote to DCLG in July to point out the particular problems that exist for Norfolk. DCLG have responded that they believe the new Business Rates Retention will address our concerns (out to consultation now, until end Oct) (but this will only be if they get the baseline funding correct)
Key plus points
• Positive lively debate, common issues for many rural councils – Norfolk seen as very proactive on this issue but would be helpful if affected councils got more active and involved
• Whilst Business Rates Retention might help in the long-term (from 2014), it doesn’t give us any help in the short-term and we need the shortfall addressed for the next 2 years
• Without any immediate intervention, councils will still have high shortfalls in each of the next 2 years, which will decimate the tendered network and we may never be able to recover from it.
• People are signing the petition – but let’s keep the pressure on www.norfolk.gov.uk/fairfares to make a major impact and get the government to rethink. There are over 4,000 signatures in hand, in addition to the e-petition.
It’s very important that councils understand the impacts of the proposals about Business Rates Retention, which includes a technical note on how they might address the concession fares relative needs formula. This extract was from a recent DfT note to point you in the right direction for the consultation paperwork:
DCLG are currently out to consultation on the broad options for a new way of funding local government based on business rates retention. The consultation can be found at the following link http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/resourcereviewbusinessrates
and Question 1 and 2 on page 21 are pertinent to how 2012/13 formula grant may be used as the basis for constructing the baseline for 2013./14, the proposed first year of the new scheme.
On 19 August DCLG also published eight supporting technical papers concerning the consultation, and consideration of whether to review the relative needs formulae for concessionary travel is discussed on page 23 and 24 of paper 1 “Establishing the baseline” at the following link:
You should send your consultation response to
before 24th October, when the consultation closes.
Assistant Director Travel and Transport Services
Environment, Transport and Development
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