About Worcestershire Passenger Transport Strategy
The strategy sets out how Worcestershire County Council, working with its partners, aims to deliver passenger transport for all our residents
About the strategy
The Worcestershire Passenger Transport Strategy has been developed to support Worcestershire’s Local Transport Plan 4.
The strategy sets out how Worcestershire County Council, working with its partners, aims to deliver passenger transport for all our residents. The strategy looks at ways for residents and visitors to access services across Worcestershire. It recognises that passenger transport plays a key part in supporting this access.
The overarching objective of the strategy ensures that residents and visitors have a level of access to services and facilities which contributes to a good quality of life.
The strategy covers:
- home to school transport
- public transport
- community transport
- social care transport
The views and opinions of the public are vital to ensuring that the passenger transport services provided meet the needs of the community. In delivering services, the Council will, whenever they can, communicate directly with the local community via their democratically elected County Councillor.
Worcestershire County Council has consulted residents and stakeholders on the draft Passenger Transport Strategy in order to fully understand the contribution that these services make to the local economy, and their value in terms of community, health and wellbeing.
The public consultation on the draft Worcestershire Passenger Transport Strategy closed on the 13 September 2019 and feedback from responses has been analysed. The results from this consultation have updated the final strategy document which was approved at Cabinet on the 14 November 2019.
Aims, objectives and outcomes
The strategy seeks to deliver the following outcomes:
- provision of a network which offers access to key services (rural and urban)
- a sustainable passenger transport network
- a robust procedure for deciding where, when and how we financially support services
- implementation of relevant parts of the Bus Services Act 2017 which will benefit Worcestershire’s residents
The strategy includes the following aims:
- network commercialisation: Worcestershire County Council is committed to developing and enhancing the ability for operators to provide their services commercially (without financial support from the County Council)
- access to services: the County Council’s aim is to provide good network coverage, operating times, frequency of the service and network integration; however, we also need to achieve best value
- attractive and affordable services: it is essential that transport services’ costs are competitive; technology will play a key role in achieving this aim
- quality of service: Worcestershire County Council recognises that quality of service is essential in delivering successful passenger transport services
- publicity and information: the Worcestershire Passenger Transport Strategy ensures information about services is readily available and is easily understood, while balancing this with the cost effectiveness of production
The strategy also includes the following more detailed objectives which support achievement of the strategic aims:
- home to school and social care transport: this objective will provide an opportunity to review current provision and enhance integration where appropriate
- network prioritisation: this objective focuses on where Worcestershire County Council will prioritise resources and ensure best value; this also places emphasis on the commercialisation of the network
- Performance Management Framework Model: performance of services is essential in terms of achieving best value with funding available and it is recognised that new ways of thinking are required: this enables services to be ranked for both existing and future service provision; the prioritisation of customer journeys formed an important part of the consultation
- alternative service provision: this objective considers other services which can complement the network
- fares and ticketing: this objective looks at ticketing options which allows passengers to undertake their journey using more than one form of transport: this will take account of available new technology
- information and infrastructure: this objective ensures information is provided in the most appropriate way and considers the requirements of the Bus Services Act (2017); we also look at appropriate levels of infrastructure provision (e.g. Bus shelters) across the network
- modal integration: this objective focuses on the need to consider all methods of passenger transport to achieve improved integration; this includes consideration of accessibility of services and cost-effective passenger transport options
The need for a Passenger Transport Strategy
Bus use in Worcestershire has declined over the last 50 years which reflects the national trend. Worcestershire is committed to improving journey times and reliability for all road-based transport, the quality of the local environment and making passenger transport services more attractive for our residents.
Worcestershire County Council recognises that the strategy is required to support the scale of planned future growth which includes, for example, housing and employment within the county.
There is now less funding available to support passenger transport services, so it is important to develop a strategy which prioritises the limited funding in a way which will sustain the commercial transport network, while still meeting Worcestershire’s transport needs in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
Worcestershire County Council is dedicated to providing good quality, best value services to its residents. Like all councils across the UK, Worcestershire has faced significant budget reductions in recent years, which limits the ability of the Council to subsidise and support the passenger transport network, particularly when set against fuel price inflation and other cost increases facing the bus industry. It is essential that Worcestershire County Council monitors spending carefully and ensures that we use clear and consistent criteria when we make funding decisions.
The strategy cannot be developed in isolation and in preparing it, the Council has taken account into account existing strategies, the size and population of the County and current financial conditions.
The Passenger Transport Network
The main purpose of Worcestershire’s Passenger Transport Network is to provide an efficient, resilient and integrated system which provides access for everyone to a wide range of services and facilities which are essential for a good quality of life. These include employment, education, health, retail and leisure.
Our priorities will include home to work and home to school journeys. A healthy commercial network is critical in delivering this.
The main providers of passenger transport services in Worcestershire are commercial organisations that operate local bus services on a profit-making basis, as envisaged when the local bus service market outside London was de-regulated in 1985. It is important for Worcestershire residents that commercial bus networks are attractive, efficient and stable. Well-run networks can meet the needs of local people by providing a transport network which reduces congestion, vehicular emissions and provides access to a wide range of employment and wider life-enhancing opportunities.
While commercial bus services are outside the Council’s direct control, we will work in co-operation with commercial operators to help deliver an efficient, reliable bus network which meets the needs of the people of Worcestershire and encourages increased use of local transport services.
We hope to encourage operators to achieve this by:
- working closely with them to identify problems and find solutions to ensure an efficient and integrated network
- ensuring passenger transport operators do not suffer unduly from congestion resulting from planned roadworks
- working with them to improve reliability and punctuality of services
- developing quality partnerships with operators
- supporting integration, ensuring that journeys using more than one means of transport are feasible with seamless transitions at key transport hubs including rail stations
- working with key local businesses and employers to encourage promotion of passenger transport services