Issue - meetings

Concessionary Travel Scheme - Operator Reimbursement

Meeting: 20/12/2019 - Cabinet (Item 9)

9 Concessionary Travel Scheme - Operator Reimbursement pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To consider approval of a 3 year Concessionary Travel Scheme with Stagecoach West Ltd.

 

Decision:

Cllr Nigel Moor, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, sought consent to negotiate and enter into a three year fixed rate agreement with Stagecoach West Ltd.

 

Having considered all of the information, including known proposals, alternative options and reasons for recommendations, Cabinet noted the report and,

           

RESOLVED to:

 

Delegate authority to the Lead Commissioner – Communities and Infrastructure, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, to:

 

1.    Negotiate the terms of a 3 year fixed rate agreement with Stagecoach West Ltd, commencing on 1 April 2020, under which Stagecoach shall receive the statutory reimbursement of  fares that would otherwise be payable in respect of passengers it carries holding an English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENTCS) pass; and

 

2.    Enter into such agreement provided the above-mentioned negotiations are successful, meets core requirements and is within budget.

Minutes:

Cllr Nigel Moor, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, sought cabinet approval to negotiate and enter into a three-year fixed rate agreement with Stagecoach West Ltd.

 

Cllr Moor informed members that the county council made a very substantial financial commitment to public transport in Gloucestershire. He explained that the reimbursement of operators for bus trips by pass holders was a statutory obligation for all authorities. Gloucestershire currently provide transport passes to approximately 110,000 pass-holders across the county, (representing, an average 5.5 million trips a year). The current scheme is a key revenue stream for operators, with Stagecoach responsible for over 95% of the bus trips made in Gloucestershire.

 

The new proposal represents a 3-year agreement, introduced to make payments to Stagecoach at a fixed rate, based on actual passenger numbers. The new agreement would be a follow-on agreement to the current, successful 2017-2020 version. A key advantage of the agreement is that it would provide both parties with budgetary and bus operational network stability. Members noted that Stagecoach had agreed to maintain the current service level (at the time of contract signing) at a fixed price payment.

 

Cllr Moor confirmed that Stagecoach would benefit from protection against potential sudden drops in passenger numbers, achieved from the payment of reimbursement payments at a fixed rate, thus reducing the risk of a service being withdrawn if there was a sudden reduction in numbers.

 

At the time of the writing the report, the total concessionary reimbursement budget was set at £6.2m. It was noted that, even with a small increase in the number of journeys on popular services, this could result in a large increase in the amount the council would have to pay. The proposed agreement would provide budgetary stability by removing the council’s exposure to such fluctuations. The agreement also sought to reduce the risk of a legal challenge by Stagecoach.

 

Having considered all of the information, including known proposals, alternative options and reasons for recommendations, Cabinet noted the report and,

           

RESOLVED to:

 

Delegate authority to the Lead Commissioner – Communities and Infrastructure, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, to:

 

1.    Negotiate the terms of a 3 year fixed rate agreement with Stagecoach West Ltd, commencing on 1 April 2020, under which Stagecoach shall receive the statutory reimbursement of  fares that would otherwise be payable in respect of passengers it carries holding an English National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENTCS) pass; and

 

2.    Enter into such agreement provided the above-mentioned negotiations are successful, meets core requirements and is within budget.