Agenda item

Passenger Transport Policy and Strategy.


The Cabinet considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport regarding the recommencement of the review of all the Council’s supported passenger transport services against the Passenger Transport Policy and Strategy (PTPS) following a pause whilst service use was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and seeking approval for a programme of local focussed engagement/consultation with affected communities ahead of implementation of the review outcomes.  A copy of the report, marked ‘Agenda Item 6’, is filed with these minutes.


Also filed with these minutes are comments from Mr. S. J. Galton CC (minute 209 above also refers) and comments from Mrs A. J. Hack CC and Mr. M. Hunt CC on behalf of the Labour Group.


In reference to the comments made by the Labour Group, the Director said that an independent review of the Policy and Strategy had been previously undertaken by consultants which had concluded that it was fit for purpose. The services under review made up less than 10% of the overall bus network and therefore the overall impact would be small. In response to Mr Galton’s comments, she added that if the additional £1 million identified within the MTFS was used to continue services under the current arrangements, it would only delay the reviews for 12 months in which time the County Council would continue to subsidise services, some of which were very poorly used. She added that the proposed actions were not a reduction in budget, rather removing the £1m growth to return the spend to its original total.


Mr O’Shea CC said that whilst he understood the concerns of service operators and users, the County Council had to reduce its spend within the subsidised bus network. He added that a significant number of current subsidised services were poorly used and unsustainable in their current form. Where changes were required following a review, the Council would work closely with communities affected and they would not be left without access to essential services. He added that Leicestershire MPs should recognise the pressures the County Council faced and the need for a fairer allocation of funding.


In response to a question from Mr Pain CC concerning a specific bus service in Fleckney, the Director said that in some instances, funding was requested via s106 agreements to subsidise a bus service over a specific period. If by the end of the period the service was not commercially run, it would be removed, reflecting the fact that the demand was not there. Developer contributions were often also sought to provide low-cost initiatives such as travel packs and free bus passes, but the monies concerned would not be sufficient to be re-purposed to subsidise a service.


Mrs Richardson CC said that a Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) alternative had been introduced within her division and appeared to be working well.


Mrs Taylor CC said that the poor patronage levels was a national issue and if buses were not being used they were not only a drain on the County Council’s resources but also a detriment to climate change and there were examples across the County where DRT had been introduced successfully. She added that there was also an onus on bus companies to improve the service they provide, specifically in terms of reliability.




a)    That the recommencement of the review of all supported passenger transport services in line with the Council’s Passenger Transport Policy and Strategy be noted;


b)    That the proposed programme of local focussed engagement and consultation to inform affected communities of the review outcomes and intended course of action as set out in paragraphs 58 to 66 of the report, be approved;


c)    That it be noted that the Director of Environment and Transport, following consultation with the Cabinet Lead Member, will exercise existing delegated authority to implement the outcome of the service reviews.






The PTPS was adopted in October 2018 to ensure the delivery of value for money passenger transport services and to provide a robust and transparent framework for determining decisions on the provision of passenger transport services. In accordance with the PTPS Operational Handbook, a programme of service reviews as set out in the 16 October 2018 Cabinet report commenced in December 2018, but it was then paused in March 2020 due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the significant impacts it had on patronage and service operations.


The recommencement of the PTPS reviews of all supported bus services, as listed in Appendix A, began in September 2022. These reviews are being undertaken in four batches, the first of which is nearing completion and is likely to result in changes to these services, including the likely withdrawal of some of them.


The outcome of these PTPS reviews against such a challenging financial backdrop will impact the levels of public transport in local communities, therefore, to ensure that service users are made aware of the future changes to supported bus services in their area, it is proposed that a number of route focused community engagement events and where necessary consultation will be undertaken during 2023.

Following the above, the Director of Environment and Transport, following consultation with the Cabinet Lead Member for Highways and Transport, will implement the necessary changes to services in line with delegations approved by the Cabinet in October 2018.


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