New contracts, to run many council-supported bus services in Bath and North East Somerset, have been awarded following a public consultation, review and competitive tender.
From September 2 the majority of existing supported bus routes across Bath and North East Somerset will remain the same while a few services will be restructured to give better value for money. One early morning journey and two evening journeys will be withdrawn because the cost of providing them is disproportionate to the number of passengers actually using them.
The award of new supported bus service contracts follows a public consultation at the start of the year which saw more than 200 people get involved as part of the review which looked at the number of people using the services and the cost of running them. A competitive tender was carried out to ensure the council gets the best value for money.
Bath and North East Somerset Council together with the West of England Combined Authority funds non-commercial bus services, most of which will be unchanged.
Councillor Mark Shelford, (Conservative Lyncombe) Cabinet Member for Transport & Highways said: “I am very pleased that, by working with the West of England Combined Authority, we have been able to maintain most of the non-commercial bus network – which many residents rely on to help them live active and independent lives and which plays a part in helping us improve air quality by giving our residents an alternative to using the car.
We must remember, however, that there is tremendous pressure on council expenditure, so we need to ensure we get value for money for every penny we spend. That’s why we have had to cease funding for a small number of buses where the cost is disproportionate to the number of passengers actually using the service and it’s why users of some services will be asked to pay slightly higher fares to help us meet rising costs.”
Supported bus services staying the same:
Services 2, 6A, 8, 9 (evening services in Bath)
Evening journeys (Mondays-Saturdays) to Combe Down, Larkhall and Fairfield Park, Kingsway and Upper Weston are retained with no changes to the services. The daytime buses on these routes are operated commercially.
Service 82 (Radstock- Paulton)
Local daytime (Mondays-Friday) service operating via residential estates is retained unchanged, although the service will operate via Monger Lane in Midsomer Norton when the route through the new development is open.
Service 172 (Evening services to Midsomer Norton & Paulton)
The Monday-Saturday evening journeys between Bath and Paulton via Midsomer Norton are retained with no change to services, except that the 2255 journey from Bath will continue from Paulton to High Littleton, Timsbury and Farmborough, replacing the current late night journey on service 179.
The Sunday evening journeys on service 172 are also retained unchanged. The daytime buses on Service 172 are operated commercially.
Service 179 (Sunday services to Timsbury, Farmborough & Writhlington)
A contract for daytime services on Sundays is retained with no change to services
Services 672 and 67 (Blagdon – Bristol via Chew Valley)
The daytime service 672 between Bristol and Blagdon via the Chew Valley is retained with no change. All journeys will be operated by CT Plus, instead of Abus and Bugler Coaches. The cost of providing service 672 has increased so some fares will increase too.
Service 67 is operated commercially by Abus and is being withdrawn on 20 July due to other changes being made by the operator of the service.
Supported bus services that are changing:
Service 20A/C (Bath Circular services)
At present, this service provides a daytime (Monday-Saturday) circular service from the University of Bath via Combe Down, Rush Hill, Twerton, Oldfield Park, RUH, Weston, Marlborough Buildings, City Centre and Widcombe Hill. An hourly interval operates which is increased between the university and Twerton during university term times. From 2 September, an hourly service 20 will operate between the University of Bath and Twerton via Widcombe, the City Centre, Marlborough Buildings, the RUH and Oldfield Park. The service will divert to run through the Bath Riverside development when the through road is opened. This section of the route is largely unchanged from the present, but the stop in Ivo Peters Road (at Green Park Sainsbury’s) will no longer be served.
The current section of route between Twerton and the University of Bath via Combe Down will be replaced by First’s service U2 which will be changed to run from the university via Combe Down and Rush Hill to Southdown, then a loop via Coronation Avenue, Twerton and Whiteway, then back via Rush Hill and Combe Down to the university. Service U2 will run every 15 – 20 minutes in term times and every hour in university holidays and on Saturdays.
Service 768 (Bath – Englishcombe, Radstock & Clutton)
This provides a daytime service on Mondays to Fridays connecting villages to main centres.
Peak hour journeys between Bath and Writhlington are unchanged, but the off-peak service will consist of one bus operating between Bath, Englishcombe, Timsbury (Greenvale Drive), Camerton, Clandown,Radstock and Midsomer Norton (Tesco). The service will continue to be operated by CT Coaches.
The service between Clutton and Midsomer Norton will cease because it is not well used, but one return journey will be provided on service 754 from Clutton to Radstock on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays serving Venus Lane and Temple Cloud to Midsomer Norton and Radstock to complement the existing Monday-only bus and this will be operated by the B&NES in-house fleet.
The following services are being withdrawn
Service A4 (Chandag early morning service) – one early journey through the Chandag estate
Service 179 (evening bus from Bath Timsbury, Farmborough & Writhlington)
One evening journey from Bath at 19
.40 on Mondays to Saturdays will be withdrawn because it is poor value for money – in excess of £10 subsidy per passenger journey. This journey had been operated commercially by First until last year but was retained with financial support to enable the council to assess how well it was used.
Service 179 (late evening bus from Bath to Timsbury, Farmborough & Writhlington)
One late evening journey from Bath at 2300 on Fridays and Saturdays only will be withdrawn because it is very poor value for money – in excess of £15 subsidy per passenger journey.
A new facility is being introduced on service 172 that will enable passengers travelling home from Bath to High Littleton, Timsbury and Farmborough to travel home at 2255 on Mondays to Saturdays. There will be changes to some commercial bus services from 2 September 2018 too and bus operators will notify their customers of those changes nearer the time.