Following a full competitive tender exercise undertaken on the Council’s behalf by Suffolk County Council, the decision taken is to award a new 3 ½ year contract to Ipswich Buses Ltd for the provision of Service 14 on a slightly modified route and timetable to that which currently operates. The frequency of the service remains the same.
Tenders were invited on a fixed cost to the Council basis. Ipswich Buses provided the cheapest tender at £57.95 per day of operation. 4 compliant tenders were received and ranged in price from £57.95 per day of operation to £374.80 per day of operation. 1 variant bid was received for £788.80 per day of operation for a hybrid bus.
The service is not considered to be commercially viable and is unlikely to be so in the foreseeable future.
As such, if a subsidised bus service is not provided then residents of the Gippeswyk Park estate area would be forced to walk to Hawthorn Drive or London Road to catch a bus. Whilst there is a financial cost to the Council of subsidising bus services which has to be taken into account, in this case the Council’s policies on encouraging the use of sustainable transport are considered to justify the continued subsidy of this specific bus service.
It is considered appropriate to take this decision at officer level and during the pre-election period primarily because: (i) councillors were aware of the tender exercise; (ii) this is the continuation of an existing service and its dis-continuation would be a more controversial decision; (iii) the tender chosen is the cheapest and is lower than the current service cost; (iv) there is base budget provision for this; and, (v) the rules are such that the decision has to be made now rather than wait till after the election or after the pre-election period.
The Leader, upon being consulted, confirmed that he was supportive of this decision.
Decision Made By: Russell Williams (Chief Executive)