Issue details

Transport Operations – continuation of payments for concessionary fare reimbursement, supported bus service contracts and Community Transport grants

• Bus operators and transport providers are at real risk of going out of business before normality is resumed due to significantly reduced revenue income from fare box, grant awards, payments for contracted services and/or concessionary fare reimbursement for an extended period.
• Services may be reduced below an acceptable minimum level for the duration of the crisis potentially leaving some key workers unable to access work.
• Permanent loss of operators/providers would mean it would be virtually impossible to reinstate the full network coverage of bus operations and transport services after the Covid-19 crisis.
• Continuation of concessionary fare reimbursement and contracted service payments would cost no more than is currently budgeted within the Transport Levy (approx. £5m for these three elements for each quarter) but would provide immediate certainty of cash flow to all operators on a business as usual basis.
• In order to ensure the continued funding delivers appropriate services and support a number of conditions have been devised which operators will be required to accept before the funding is released – see background document. These conditions align well with other Combined Authorities across the country.
• This action would provide reassurance that operators have the support from the Transport Authority for their long-term survival and future role in the region.
• The Department for Transport has been actively encouraging Local Transport Authorities to take this step and subsequently wrote to local authorities again stating that the CBSSG restart payments had been calculated on the basis that LTAs continue providing the reimbursement and contract payments. on 25 March 2020 urging them to continue to pay operators in this way – see background document.
• This is a decision taken under the Scheme of Delegations approved by the WECA Committee. This decision has been taken under this provision.

Decision type: Non-key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Notice of proposed decision first published: 19/10/2020

Decision due: 19 Oct 2020 by Director of Infrastructure

Contact: Peter Mann Head of Strategic Transport Integration Email: Peter.mann@bristol.gov.uk.

Consultation process

The issue was included in the report on Transport Operations to the 9 September Transport Board and the 10 September meeting of the Directors of Infrastructure. Both meetings accepted the need for the payments to continue.

Decisions

Background papers