Better Buses News
SPT responds regarding 317 bus
We have started sending specific issues with buses to the relevant provider for response. Andrew Jones contacted the website with a gripe about e 317. You can see his post here
Patrick sent it on to SPT who have a remit for taking over ‘socially necessary’ routes that are dropped by the commercial operators. The response shows that socially necessary bus services are chronically underfunded, especially at a time when commercial bus companies are dropping routes left, right and centre. It also raises the question of our regulatory framework which is, undoubtedly, not serving passengers.
“Dear Mr Harvie
The operation of service 317 is subsidised by SPT after 1800 on Monday to Saturday and all day on Sundays. You may be aware that SPT has very limited funding for the provision of socially necessary local bus services. Accordingly, we seek to operate as much as we can in the most cost effective way and a one bus 90 minute timetable is the best that can be afforded during those times of day to maintain a bus service along this line of route.
However, the operation during Monday to Saturday daytime hours is completely unsubsidised. SPT has no powers to control or specify the routes and timetables of commercially operated bus services. I would note that well over 90% of all bus services are provided in this way. SPT has no funding available to enhance service levels where a bus route is continuing to be operated. SPT’s budget is therefore targeted towards areas and communities which would not receive a bus service at all were it not for the provision of a subsidised service and this budget is fully committed for the 2012/2013 financial year.
Service 317 was provided on a commercial basis by McKindless. After that operator ceased trading, the full service was subsidised by SPT. Stuart’s Coaches then offered to operate the Monday to Saturday daytime service on a commercial, unsubsidised basis. With bus industry costs rising and issues surround other sources of funding, such as the cap on Scottish Government funding for the national concession card free travel scheme, bus operators are constantly seeking ways of reducing their costs of operation.
In summary, I would note that whilst the service level reduction being brought in on this commercial bus service is regrettable, SPT is unable to fund or indeed justify funding a restoration of the hourly timetable on this route.
I hope that these notes explain the situation for you.
Network Planning Team Leader
Consort House, 12 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 1HN “