Northamptonshire County Council Report on Raunds Bus Service

A report has been received to Raunds Town Council, written by Northamptonshire County Council regarding Raunds Buses. The content of the report has been included below.

1.0 Background.

Raunds Town Council and local district councillors have been working closely in conjunction with Northamptonshire County Council to ensure that s106 monies (contributions from local developers) ear marked for bus routes serving Raunds are spent in the most effective way possible.

2.0 Raunds Buses – updates

The following updates have been received from the officer at Northamptonshire County Council – unfortunately a planned meeting has had to be re-scheduled.

2.1 Services to Rushden Lakes

  • flagged up with Stagecoach that the evening journeys to Raunds were not displayed on the X46/X47 timetable and I trust they will be able to incorporate this when they next reprint the timetable booklet.
  • flagged up with Stagecoach that there is an opportunity to promote evening services in Stanwick at the club. Stagecoach were going to talk to their drivers about this and produce a poster to display in the club.
  • I have met with Stagecoach twice to discuss my aspirations for the Sunday service, and asked them to provide an indicative cost and way for retaining the current Sunday service, and also a Sunday service that has a reduced service in the afternoon (when the buses are less busy) in order to accommodate driver rest breaks on the expectation that this would reduce cost.
  • I also discussed the evening services. At this point in time, I think the best option will be to retender to service due to the complexity of what I am may be trying to achieve. This only relates to the 2134 and 2334 journeys and when we all met, we discussed various options involving Burton Latimer or running buses on only certain evenings only. I intend to discuss these options when we meet. A tender would be undertaken in June ahead of a service commencement in September.

2.2 Other Raunds Services

The following update has been received from the county council:

Since 23rd July 2018, services 8 (Kettering – Geddington – Lt Stanion – Corby) and 18 (Raunds – Thrapston – Brigstock – Lt Stanion – Corby) have been running under contract to Northamptonshire County Council using what remained the section 106 public transport funding from Little Stanion that was part-funding the previous service 8.

Formerly, service 8 was approximately 50% funded and 50% commercial however Centrebus gave notice that it was no longer at all commercial, hence the move to the current arrangement and we worked hard to rescue a service in the face of the removal of County Council subsidy for local bus services at the same time.

The present service 8/18 arrangement, in addition to Little Stanion, is partly funded by other section 106 funding in Thrapston and the inclusion of two entitled home-to-school transport services within the timetable. On bus takings and concessionary fares reimbursement cover about 55% of the net operating cost of the service.

At this rate, the funding will cease in September or October of this year and, given that the service does not cover costs, under these circumstances it is unlikely that any commercial operator would take over the service. However, there is scope within the timetable to make measured reductions in order to reduce costs and prolong the life of the service. These discussions have been on-going with Centrebus over the last month.

It is intended that a revised service comes into force from the end of May 2019, that achieves sufficient savings so that it is hoped that the service can continue until at least this time next year, or beyond if usage of the service continues to grow. The final detailed timetables are still being drawn up, and will be shared in due course, however the headline changes that you should be aware of are as follows:

  • The service between Little Stanion and Corby will be reduced to
    approximately every 2 hours after 1000. It is currently every hour, but usage data clearly shows that the busiest journey is the 0750 arrival in Corby, with busy journeys immediately after 0930 but otherwise low usage spread across the remaining journeys. By removing the need for the bus to be in Little Stanion every hour, we can be more flexible with the way in which the buses are scheduled and we can incorporate drive rest breaks within the time. This reduces costs a great deal. There will also not be an opportunity to travel from Little Stanion to Kettering until a bus arriving at around 1300, outside of peak hours (see the next bullet point).
  • It is proposed that there will be a new journey from Corby to Kettering, on schooldays, arriving between 0800 and 0830, with a matching return journey in the afternoon. The morning journey will not serve Wood Street, only the main road in Geddington in order to save time at busy peak hours. To accommodate this, the 0750 arrival in Corby from Thrapston will be advanced to arrive at 0740. This is subject to being able to accommodate the school bus from Gretton to Corby Business Academy elsewhere.
  • The Saturday service will be reduced to be operated by one bus instead of two. As a consequence, rather than every 2 hours similar to weekdays, it will be much more based around a single journey from the villages to either Kettering or Corby, or between Raunds and Thrapston, outside of peak hours.
  • Journeys on service 18 will be centred around morning journeys to
    Raunds/Thrapston and afternoon journeys to Corby, rather than every 2 hours throughout.
  • Opportunities to access Corby from Geddington will be greatly reduced, and there is little evidence from the passenger loadings that there is demand for this.
  • There will be a single workers journey home from Kettering and single workers journey home from Corby at 1745 each day.
  • There will be no notable reductions to services between Brambleside and Kettering, given that this is generating a significant amount of the usage, thus income, on the service. Journeys between Geddington and Kettering will be retimed, with certain journeys stopping only on the main road in the village in the interest of making these journeys as quick as possible. Return journeys from Kettering will all serve Wood Street, as now, as will the first two buses towards Kettering after 0930.

For the original copy of this report, please see the Raunds Town Council website

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