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Information on subsidised bus services

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Dear Gwynedd Council,

For the financial year 2018/19 could you please provide the following information concerning all bus routes that receive a subsidy via Gwynedd Council (This refers to the Department for Transport’s definition of a supported bus service as: “one where a local transport authority has invited tenders for the operation of a service (not e.g. seats on a bus or subsidised tickets etc), and a contract exists as a result of that tender”. Please, exclude extra sources of funding such as Section 106/developer funding, Community Infrastructure Levy, local authority staffing and publicity, RTPI expenditure and revenue, the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG), Local Education Authority funding for home to school transport, NHS-funded non-emergency patient transport, social services transport, voluntary transport and other central and national government grants or income streams). :
1. Total amount of subsidy for all bus services for the year;
2. The routes (service number and operator) where subsidies are paid and the annual amount of subsidy for each route
3. For each route please indicate the individual service times for weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays that are subsidised services
4. Please provide the rational for the distribution of subsidy, the date when the rationale was set and most recently updated.
5. Please provide the most recent statistical data figures or other relevant information that have been used by the council as the basis for the 2018/19 distribution of subsidy
6. Could the Council please advise if it is currently carrying out a review of a) subsidised bus services, b) non subsidised bus services.
7 If it is carrying out such a review what is the purpose and scope of the review. Also if a review is or has recently been carried out is there any intention to use the information gathered to consider whether or not subsidised bus services can be replaced by on demand style minibus type services (or similar)

Yours faithfully,
Anne Bennett

Gwynedd Council

Rhyddid Gwybodaeth / Freedom of Information

Dear Anne Bennett,

Freedom of Information (ref 2)

Thank you for your recent request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000.

Your request has been passed to me to process and I can confirm that it
has been logged under the reference number 2.

The Council may take up to 20 working days, from the date of receipt, to
respond to your request. You should therefore receive the information you
have requested, subject to the application of any exemptions permitted
under the Act, by 01/05/2019. If you require further information please
contact me by phone on 01286 679809 or by emailing
[1][email address].cymru by quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely,
Gwawr Owen

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address].cymru

Rhyddid Gwybodaeth,

34 Attachments

Rhyddid Gwybodaeth / Freedom of Information

Dear Anne Bennett,

Freedom of Information (ref 2)

Thank you for your recent request. Please see below and attached for the
information requested:

 

1. Total amount of subsidy for all bus services for the year; - The total
subsidy for bus service routes for period 2018-19 was £1,702,479.04

2. The routes (service number and operator) where subsidies are paid and
the annual amount of subsidy for each route – gweler y PDF ynghlwm

3. For each route please indicate the individual service times for
weekdays, Saturdays and Sundays that are subsidised services – see
attached

4. Please provide the rational for the distribution of subsidy, the date
when the rationale was set and most recently updated. - All applicable
service are tendered as per the Councils procurement procedures as and
when required.

5. Please provide the most recent statistical data figures or other
relevant information that have been used by the council as the basis for
the 2018/19 distribution of subsidy - All applicable service are tendered
as per the Councils procurement procedures as and when required.

6. Could the Council please advise if it is currently carrying out a
review of a) subsidised bus services, b) non subsidised bus services. -
The Council is currently carrying out a review on all subsidised routes.

7 If it is carrying out such a review what is the purpose and scope of the
review. Also if a review is or has recently been carried out is there any
intention to use the information gathered to consider whether or not
subsidised bus services can be replaced by on demand style minibus type
services (or similar) - The purpose of our review is to determine the
social value created from different public transport routes (subsidised by
the Council) by assessing the significance of the service to passengers.
To estimate the social value of different bus routes in Gwynedd, we
propose a social return on investment (SROI) analysis.

 

 

Please note that where information is subject to copyright belonging to
the Council, you will need to obtain the permission of the Council to
re-use it for purposes other than private study or non-commercial
research. The Council may charge for re-use. Where third party copyright
material is disclosed, you must obtain permission to re-use from the
copyright holders concerned.

 

Complaints

 

If you are unhappy with the way the Council has handled your request, you
may ask for an internal review. Please contact me if you require an
internal review of your case. An internal review will be conducted by the
Monitoring Officer or Head of Service and we will aim to respond within 20
working days. However, if we are unable to complete the review by this
date, we will advise you accordingly.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. Please see below for the contact details:

 

Information Commissioner’s Office

2^nd Floor

Churchill House

Churchill Way

Cardiff

CF102HH

 

Telephone: 02920 678400

Email: [1][email address]

Fax: 02920 678399

 

Yours sincerely,
Gwawr Owen

References

Visible links
1. blocked::mailto:[email address] mailto:[email address]
mailto:[email address]

Dear Gwawr Owen
I thought I had sent this follow up message on 3 June to your response to my FOI request however it appears that I may not have actioned it correctly and it may never have been sent. I am therefore re sending this follow up to your information....

Firstly please accept my thanks to you and your colleagues who have gone to the trouble of putting together the details in your response. I feel that in most respects you have provided the information requested, however there are some areas that I would like some further clarification on and there are some questions that I did not receive the information requested. This may have been down to a lack of clarity on my part.

Firstly with regard to points 4 and 5 in my request, I think your response is telling me that the distribution of subsidy is based on the tender. However, my question relates to the step before that. I was trying to get the details of why you have chosen to subsidise some services and not others. You refer in your answer to the "applicable" services. I assume you mean by this the services that you have chosen to subsidise. For example it would appear that the council has chosen to subsidise 13 Sunday journeys on route 88 but no Sunday service on 27. I am therefore asking you to set out the rational and evidence base for deciding which are the applicable journeys to subsidise. For example has the council at some previous point used data on the need for journeys or indices of deprivation or looked at alternative options for travel? Alternatively it may simply be that the applicable services evolved decades ago and simply relate to bygone bus routes operated by the National Bus company and as the more recent private companies have shown an inclination to drop a route or a service, the council has stepped in with a subsidy to keep it going. I would appreciate if you could explain whether the current structure of applicable services has been based on some research, data and strategy, and if so what that data and strategy is and when it was last reviewed; or have the applicable services simply evolved organically as a product of some historic process about which there is no longer any information available?
In question 7 I asked a very specific question about whether or not the council would consider using the data from the review to justify alternative types of provision, in particular an on demand style minibus type service. I do not feel this point was addressed. The reference to SROI did not have quite the transparency that other parts of your response did.

I would next like to ask you for some clarifications. You very kindly provided me with relevant timetables. I noted that there were some routes highlighted in yellow and mauve. Can I take it that these are the routes and times that attract some degree of subsidy? Can I take it that the yellow indicates subsidy and if so could you explain the significance of the mauve please.
Timetable 1/2/T2 did not have any coloured highlighting. Should it have?
the 1A/1N timetable did not have any highlighting on the Mon to Sat section Is this correct as your subsidy table shows that there is a subsidy on route 1A
Some services including 6B and 33 and 34 appear to be subsidising routes that go outside the County. Is this correct and if so what is the rational for Gwynedd to subsidise rather than Powys or Conwy?
On route 35 there appears to be no subsidy on the North Bound services. Is this correct?
Service 14 only shows subsidy in the To Pwllheli direction. Is this correct?
route 39 appears to have only one journey in each direction highlighted and yet in your table you state that the subsidy for route 39 is over £88,000 per year. This seems to be very high subsidy for just two journeys per day so I wondered if I have interpreted your timetable and subsidy table correctly? In Summary, you have provided me with a list of amounts of subsidy in one table and a list of timetables and in some cases the re are highlighted journeys of various colours and in other timetables there ar no highlighting and it is also difficult in some cases to tie the numbers in the subsidy amounts tables to the numbers and days in the timetables. Any further clarification that would enable an effective read across would be very much appreciated

I would be most grateful if you could deal with the above points of information and clarification.

Yours sincerely,

A Bennett

Rhyddid Gwybodaeth,

Dear A Bennett,

Thank you for the email. I will pass it on to the relevant officer and get back to you as soon as possible.

Many Thanks
Gwawr Owen

-----Neges Wreiddiol/Original Message-----
Oddi wrth: A Bennett <[FOI #565347 email]>
Anfonwyd: Dydd Mercher, 19 Mehefin 2019 01:50
At: Rhyddid Gwybodaeth <[email address].cymru>
Pwnc: Re: Freedom of Information (ref 2)

Dear Gwawr Owen
I thought I had sent this follow up message on 3 June to your response to my FOI request however it appears that I may not have actioned it correctly and it may never have been sent. I am therefore re sending this follow up to your information....

Firstly please accept my thanks to you and your colleagues who have gone to the trouble of putting together the details in your response. I feel that in most respects you have provided the information requested, however there are some areas that I would like some further clarification on and there are some questions that I did not receive the information requested. This may have been down to a lack of clarity on my part.

Firstly with regard to points 4 and 5 in my request, I think your response is telling me that the distribution of subsidy is based on the tender. However, my question relates to the step before that. I was trying to get the details of why you have chosen to subsidise some services and not others. You refer in your answer to the "applicable" services. I assume you mean by this the services that you have chosen to subsidise. For example it would appear that the council has chosen to subsidise 13 Sunday journeys on route 88 but no Sunday service on 27. I am therefore asking you to set out the rational and evidence base for deciding which are the applicable journeys to subsidise. For example has the council at some previous point used data on the need for journeys or indices of deprivation or looked at alternative options for travel? Alternatively it may simply be that the applicable services evolved decades ago and simply relate to bygone bus routes operated by the National Bus company and as the more recent private companies have shown an inclination to drop a route or a service, the council has stepped in with a subsidy to keep it going. I would appreciate if you could explain whether the current structure of applicable services has been based on some research, data and strategy, and if so what that data and strategy is and when it was last reviewed; or have the applicable services simply evolved organically as a product of some historic process about which there is no longer any information available?
In question 7 I asked a very specific question about whether or not the council would consider using the data from the review to justify alternative types of provision, in particular an on demand style minibus type service. I do not feel this point was addressed. The reference to SROI did not have quite the transparency that other parts of your response did.

I would next like to ask you for some clarifications. You very kindly provided me with relevant timetables. I noted that there were some routes highlighted in yellow and mauve. Can I take it that these are the routes and times that attract some degree of subsidy? Can I take it that the yellow indicates subsidy and if so could you explain the significance of the mauve please.
Timetable 1/2/T2 did not have any coloured highlighting. Should it have?
the 1A/1N timetable did not have any highlighting on the Mon to Sat section Is this correct as your subsidy table shows that there is a subsidy on route 1A Some services including 6B and 33 and 34 appear to be subsidising routes that go outside the County. Is this correct and if so what is the rational for Gwynedd to subsidise rather than Powys or Conwy?
On route 35 there appears to be no subsidy on the North Bound services. Is this correct?
Service 14 only shows subsidy in the To Pwllheli direction. Is this correct?
route 39 appears to have only one journey in each direction highlighted and yet in your table you state that the subsidy for route 39 is over £88,000 per year. This seems to be very high subsidy for just two journeys per day so I wondered if I have interpreted your timetable and subsidy table correctly? In Summary, you have provided me with a list of amounts of subsidy in one table and a list of timetables and in some cases the re are highlighted journeys of various colours and in other timetables there ar no highlighting and it is also difficult in some cases to tie the numbers in the subsidy amounts tables to the numbers and days in the timetables. Any further clarification that would enable an effective read across would be very much appreciated

I would be most grateful if you could deal with the above points of information and clarification.

Yours sincerely,

A Bennett

show quoted sections

Rhyddid Gwybodaeth,

Good morning, I refer to your request for further information regarding
FOI Ref T2:

 

As you have deduced in your reply, the majority of routes across Gwynedd
are historical where natural passenger flows occur. Most routes date back
to the early nineties or further. 2012 saw the beginning of a county wide
tendering exercise, stretched across three years and split by area. The
aim was to rationalise the network due to financial constraints on public
funding. Where possible, routes were contracted out on a ‘like for like’
basis in terms of the service provision although prices were sought for
different service levels – therefore, we had options to fall back upon if
it was not possible to fund the ‘like for like’ option. However, the loss
of two major operators in the Arfon area has had a drastic effect on the
network in the northern end of the County, therefore we have been unable
to continue providing a comprehensive network where in other parts of the
County, service levels have remained constant. Decisions have been made
based upon passenger usage / demand and alternative transport
arrangements, such as demand response services have been in place. In
regard to your example of the 88 / 27 Sunday service – the 88 has always
had a Sunday service as far as we’re aware, but the 27 did not (going back
as far as 2009). This undoubtedly is down to passenger demand.
Historically speaking, the 88 Mon-Sat was commercially operated and the
Sunday service was a de-minimis agreement that was financially
advantageous to provide. The 27 was wholly tendered therefore running a
Sunday timetable in addition to the M-S timetable would be costly.

 

It is the Council’s intention to look at alternative means of providing
transport, other than the traditional stage coach services where the
demand does not warrant the provision of a bus.

 

The routes highlighted in yellow are subsidised.  The once in mauve are
seat purchasing scheme, where we pay the operator to carry scholars.

 

All the routes on timetable 1/2/T2 are subsidised.

 

1A and 1N is not subsidised

 

6B – the bus company proposed for the bus to start from Conwy as the bus
would commence from that area, the same situation for 33 and 34.  Gwynedd
is not subsidising those journeys as they were added extras to the tender.

 

35 – we only subsidise the highlighted routes.

 

14 – service 14 should show that all journeys are fully tendered,
apologise for this.

 

38/39 and 99 – 

 

I trust that the above answers all your questions.

 

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

R JONES

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are A Bennett please sign in and let everyone know.