from Bob Doris MSP re buses

We’ve received this below from Bob Doris about the demise of no.11 bus. Meanwhile Patricia Ferguson MSP has confirmed that a representative of FirstBus will be at the meeting on Monday 17th.

Dear community councillor,

As you may be aware, evening bus services in Kelvindale are now severely diminished.  Consequently, I have met with representatives from First Glasgow.  Further, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) recently terminated a contract to provide a subsidised route, service 11, which was contracted to run until July 2014 by First Glasgow.  This provided a daily, hourly, evening service between Glasgow city centre and Clydebank via Kelvindale and Anniesland, in both directions.  The cost of that route to SPT was £551 per week, but now a new, subsidised route has been arranged with Citybus to replace the terminated contract.  This was undertaken via delegated powers by SPT officials.  The cost to SPT of this new route is £765 per week, but the service only runs from Kelvindale to Clydebank, not to the city centre, and there are only two buses per evening.

This new service, subsidised by SPT, is temporary and is due to lapse on 28/9/13.  SPT are in the process of tendering to make this alteration permanent.  The deadline for applications was 11/6/13.  I find it worrying that SPT appear to have introduced a service which is more expensive but is less able to meet the needs of the residents of Kelvindale.  It seems to me that SPT are paying more, but getting less, and it is the ordinary bus user who is losing out.

Councillor Letford also met with the chair of SPT on 13th June.  I have therefore also written to SPT to urge them to abandon the tender process and to instead initiate a new tender, namely one which better meets the needs of the residents of Kelvindale.  I have also lodged a motion with the Scottish Parliament to that effect.  Finally, I will be attending the extraordinary community council meeting on buses this Monday, along with my council colleagues and sincerely hope that all elected members, with a genuine interest in the bus services in Kelvindale, can work constructively together for the good of ordinary bus users.

For your information, please find below the text of my parliamentary motion and letter to SPT.

[signed] Bob Doris MSP for Glasgow
Scottish National Party (SNP)

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] Parliamentary Motion – SPT Must Reconsider Reduction To Kelvindale Bus Service

That the Parliament understands that Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) has terminated a contract to provide a subsidised bus route, service 11, which was contracted to run until July 2014; notes that this service was operated on behalf of SPT by First Glasgow, providing an hourly evening service on a daily basis in both directions between Glasgow city centre and Clydebank, via Kelvindale and Anniesland; understands that the cost of the route to SPT was £551 per week; further understands that a new subsidised route has been arranged with Citybus, on a new contract, and that this route commenced on 26 May 2013; believes that the decision on the new contract was taken by SPT officials under delegated powers and that the cost of the route to SPT is now £765 per week; notes that the new service runs only from Kelvindale to Clydebank, not to Glasgow city centre, and that there are only two buses per evening; understands that this new service, subsidised by SPT, is temporary and is due to finish on 28 September 2013; notes that SPT is in the process of tendering to make this arrangement permanent and that the deadline for applications was 11 June 2013; considers that it is deeply worrying that SPT appears to have introduced a service that is more expensive but less able to meet the needs of the residents of Kelvindale, and urges SPT to abandon the current tender process and initiate a new tender that better meets the needs of the residents of Kelvindale

[2] Letter to Chair, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport

Bus Service Provision – Kelvindale

I am alarmed that, following a meeting with First Bus, it transpires that SPT have decided to terminate a contract to provide a subsidised route (service 11), which was contracted to run until July 2014.  I am informed that the cost of that route was £551 a week.  However, I also understand that a new subsidised route was arranged with Citybus to replace the terminated contract, commencing 26/5/13 and that this was done under delegated powers by SPT officials.  The cost of this service is, I am informed, £765 per week.

Significantly, it appears that SPT have paid more for a reduced quality of service. The service 11 was operated on behalf of SPT by First Glasgow, providing a daily, hourly, evening service between Glasgow city centre and Clydebank via Kelvindale and Anniesland.  It ran in both directions. The new service only runs from Kelvindale to Clydebank, not to town, and there are only two buses per evening.

This new service, subsidised by SPT, is temporary and is due to lapse on 28/9/13.  I understand SPT are in the process of tendering to make this alteration permanent and that the deadline for applications is today, 11/6/13.  I urgently request that you do not continue with that tender process and therefore, make permanent the diminution of service at increased cost.

I understand that the new Simplicity service 4/4A could easily be run in the evenings on an hourly basis and that First Bus could have done this, as part of their contract running until July 2014, at no additional cost.  Alternatively, they would have continued to run the 11 as previously arranged.

Whether it is First Bus, or another provider, who runs an 11 or 4/4A in the evenings, is not my concern.  What is my concern is that the new tender process does not seem to meet the needs of my constituents, costs more and reduces the quality of bus provision.

This turn of events should not act as a surprise to SPT, as there was a subsidised service in 2009 following public concern locally, although even at that time the provision did not meet the needs of constituents.  It was not until the late SNP Councillor George Roberts raised this matter with SPT in 2010, that the service 11 was introduced.  That service has now been withdrawn and the clock has turned back to the unsatisfactory situation in 2009, and increased costs in the process.

I ask that you please review this situation as a priority and tender for a new service, which will meet the needs of my constituents and reflects value for money.

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