Venue: Committee Room 1, City Hall, Bradford
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Taj Salam and from Public Representative Norah McWilliam.
Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
Transport Committee members only.
There were no disclosable pecuniary interests declared by Members at the meeting.
Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public
There were no items requiring the exclusion of the press and public.
Matters arising from the last meeting:
Further to Minute 6 Operator Updates, comment was made that the new TransDev buses were proving unpopular due to their poor suspension. It was noted that the service was operating under contract and that neither the Combined Authority or Councillor Groves had received similar feedback. Any residents wanting to raise this issue were encouraged to do so.
Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 April 2018 be approved.
Petition from Lister Community Action Group - changes to the 680 bus timetable
The Lister Community Action Group presented a petition against the changes which had recently been made to the 680 bus timetable. It was noted that the group felt there had been a failure to consult on the part of First Bradford and that the new service was both unreliable and not meeting passenger needs. There was also a ticketing issue raised as First Bus tickets were not accepted by Yorkshire Tiger.
The Group requested that the original half hourly bus service be reinstated.
Brandon Jones of First Bus confirmed that the service had been reduced due to low passenger levels but that First were happy to review this at a later date. He stressed that First were committed to increasing bus use in Bradford and to working with both the Combined Authority and the public.
The Combined Authority reported that they spent £19m on supporting bus services last year but by 2021 have to reduce this to £15.8m as a result of a reduced levy from District Councils. It was also noted that there is no provision in the Combined Authority budget for funding the enhancement of existing services.
It was proposed that this petition be considered at the next Transport Committee meeting.
(i) That the request from Lister Community Action Group be noted.
(ii) That the petition be considered at the Transport Committee in January 2019.
Reduction in the 633 Bus Service
Councillor Sajawal attended the meeting to voice concerns on behalf of his constituents regarding the reduction of the 633 bus service. It was noted that 700 people had signed a petition to reinstate some or all of the service. There had been no public consultation and residents were keen to talk to First Bus regards ideas they had relating to the service provision. It was noted that residents were often driving into Bradford due to overcrowded buses and pointed out that parking fees were less than bus fares. Concern was raised regards pollution caused by this.
First Bradford thanked Councillor Sajawal for his comments and agreed that how they engage the public prior to change was really important. The challenges facing operators in rising costs were highlighted, versus the £3 per day parking cost in Bradford City Centre. It was acknowledged that frequency changes do affect passengers but that First Bus had tried to not lose connections. They agreed to work with Councillor Groves and community representatives in an attempt to address the issues raised.
The petition will be sent for consideration to the Transport Committee in January 2019.
Councillor Groves commended the community’s efforts to come up with solutions. It was noted that the Bus18 initiative was working to try to remove barriers to work and education and to encourage Inclusive Growth.
(i) That the issues raised in relation to the reduction of the 633 Bus Service be noted.
(ii) That the petition be considered at the January Transport Committee.
First Bradford updated the sub-committee on driver recruitment. A new training manager had been appointed and more drivers were being taken on to address the issue of drivers retiring.
A new driver training programme was ongoing to improve interactions with customers, particularly those with disabilities. The number of apprentices was being increased to 24 and more were located in the engineering section.
The Sub-Committee was informed that ticketing was currently 35% cashless with a target of 80% cashless travel within 5 years. Aims were to reduce boarding times and simplify fares.
Northern updated the Sub-Committee as to the planned RMT dispute and confirmed that strikes were planned the next few Saturdays with an option to call more. Talks have been held with ACAS last month but no resolution was achieved.
The Sub-Committee was also updated on the impact of the timetable changes in May. Northern had been told in January that the new timetable would no longer be possible due to a delay in the electrification of rail around Bolton. Planned changes for December 2018 and May 2019 will aim to stabilise the service. Northern stated that lessons have been learnt and in future they will ensure that no unnecessary risk is taken.
It was also noted that:
· Trans-Pennine are making significant changes in December 2018.
· New trains are in the UK now with training due to take place for their rollout in May 2019.
· Refurbishment is continuing on existing rolling stock both mechanical and electrical.
· Station improvement scheme continues in providing shelters and ticket information.
· Re-signalling work on Calder Valley went well, with bus support to services.
Members were then given the opportunity to ask questions and the following issues were raised:
· Why was the timetable implemented if the rail operators knew it wasn’t going to work? Northern confirmed that it was suggested to stay with original timetable but it was not possible with the network.
· The implementation of new rolling stock was welcomed.
· Do train operators have any passenger loading limit in a train carriage given the recent overcrowding? The operator informed the Sub-Committee that there is a weight limit rather than person count per carriage and acknowledged that there is a clear overcrowding problem. The lead time to get new trains is an issue, as is the clear need for more and longer trains.
Arriva gave an update on service issues relating to the 268 & 253 on Tong Street. A network review is due in February 2019, with a public consultation across West Yorkshire with an aim to improve the speed of services. The Sub-Committee was informed that the Tong Street scheme is underway.
Arriva reported that they had worked with Northern Rail to provide bus services in lieu of rail when required and that this was deemed a success.
The Sub Committee was informed that Arriva is phasing contactless ticketing in starting in the new year with an aim of March 2019.
Resolved: The Operators updates were noted.
Spending priorities for Transport Services
The Sub-Committee was given a presentation which outlined the funding pressures on Local Authority Government as a result of a reduction of £1m in the Transport Levy for 2019/20.
· £2m had been spent on travel information especially Metro Line.
· Twitter was being utilised and live web chat.
· Bus live displays were now at many bus stops.
· The M-Card scheme had a funding gap of £200k.
Public representatives were given 8 tokens to vote on the following options:
1. Providing Bus Services.
2. Reducing the cost of Travel.
3. Providing Travel Information.
4. Multi-modal Tickets.
5. Providing bus stops/ stations.
Results were given at the meeting and were as follows:
1. 40 votes – top priority.
2. 19 votes.
3. 13 votes.
4. 10 votes.
5. 22 votes.
The voting outcome was similar to the other District Consultation Sub-Committees (DCSCs) and full results will be shared at the next meeting.
Public Representatives asked why the commission was so low from M-Card at 2.5%. They were informed that steps were being taken to try to secure other income in terms of renegotiating historical leases at Bradford Interchange and Councillor Groves confirmed that income generation overall was being examined.
It was also queried why children who are our future customers are not being encouraged to use public services rather than school buses as often journeys are being duplicated.
In response it was noted that the number of specific school buses was reducing and more children would be travelling on conventional bus services in future.
Resolved: That the presentation and Sub-Committee’s feedback on spending priorities be noted.
The Sub-Committee considered a report on matters of information relating to the Bradford District.
Inclusive Transport Strategy
It was noted that the Department for Transport had published its Inclusive Transport Strategy, which aims to improve accessibility for disabled people across the UK’s transport network. In light of Brexit the law will still apply to passenger rights.
Audio Visual Information
The audio visual information continues to be implemented across services. This will potentially take between 2-6 years depending on the size of the operator subject to a decision by the Department of Transport.
Clean Bus Technology Fund
The Clean Bus Technology fund had grant funded the Combined Authority to convert 255 buses to latest emission standards. The Combined Authority had topped this up so that all 300 buses applying for funding would be converted. Benefits of this would be felt across West Yorkshire.
Members felt the focus was very Leeds centric and questioned why this was the case. It was explained that the Government had set air quality targets specific to Leeds so this in turn had set the initial distribution of funding, although all operators’ bids had now been met.
The Sub-Committee requested specific figures on the amount of vehicles now remaining below the Euro 6 requirement. The Combined Authority confirmed that it had requested these figures from operators and would give an indication at the next meeting.
Delay Repay Scheme
The scheme had now been extended by Northern Rail to include passengers whose journeys are disrupted by 15-29 minutes (from December 2018).
Bus Service Policy
It was noted that the Combined Authority’s policy on how it uses powers to procure bus services had been revised. It will prioritise community access to the public transport network and opportunities for employment which may result in a reduction to evening and Sunday services.
The pick-up and drop-off point improvements at the main entrance to the Interchange were completed in August, along with public toilet improvements.
Transforming Cities Fund
Councillor Groves confirmed that the bid had got through the first stage for this large potential funding. She noted that Chris Grayling had specifically mentioned Bradford in the Yorkshire Evening Post.
It was queried how the four key routes would be improved and Councillor Groves agreed that this would be brought to the next meeting.
Questions were raised by representatives as follows:
· It was considered that the update on the Leeds-Liverpool canal tow-path was misleading as to the upgrading of areas mentioned because some areas had in fact not been touched. Clarification on this would be sought.
· The Sub-Committee welcomed the audio visual delivery and reported it had been well received.
· A concern was raised regards the potential abuse of the blue badge system given the widening criteria.
· Boxing Day services to hospitals were highlighted and an appeal made to operators to make sure services connect to enable theses journeys, particularly in Keighley.
· It was noted that there were no plans to extend station platforms; however this would not exclude the use ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
Open Forum - Questions and Suggestions
Questions were raised by public representatives and noted as follows:
· Bus drivers were driving off whilst people were still getting to their seats.
· Can more notice be given of changes to timetables to avoid petitions? If a subsequent change to the timetable is needed it takes another 6 months.
· A statement was read out from the Queensbury Tunnel Society. A petition of 10,450 signatures had been collected in favour of preserving the tunnel, in contrast to Highways England’s planned closure. The main issues raised were the environmental impact of this ‘abandonment’, the flooding of the tunnel and the risk of historic mine works. The Society proposed preserving access for maintaining and monitoring the tunnel. They encouraged others present to sign the petition.
· Issue regards Sundays with Transdev services when there has been a bus but no driver. It was agreed that this would be brought to Transdev’s attention as there was no representative at the meeting.
· Arriva advised there is a public consultation taking place in February 2019 – dates are on the website.
· The Sub-Committee welcomed First Bus and Yorkshire Tiger’s attendance at the previous meeting. They had listened to concerns and the issues around the 675 route were now resolved.
Date of the next meeting - 11 February 2019