The Borough Council’s Green Travel Plan (funded by staff parking charges) currently pays the full cost for the provision of a free to use town centre shuttle bus service (Service 37) and has done so since 31st July 2017 following the withdrawal of the previous service (Service 38) by Suffolk County Council (SCC) which was primarily funded by their Green Travel Plan. Service 37 has been funded by IBC on a trial basis and the trial period expires on 30th March 2018. A previous officer decision form (ref: OD/17/15) provides further details.
The trial service is considered to have been successful as usage averaged 181 passengers per day in 2017 with an average subsidy per passenger of £0.53 which is below the maximum amount (£3.00) usually considered acceptable by the Council. The service is considered to be important to the town centre retail economy. As such, a full competitive tender has been undertaken by SCC on IBC’s behalf for the service to operate for a three year period (with a three month break clause), but as the Borough Council’s Green Travel Plan is funding the full cost of the service, bids were sought from bus operators on the basis of the service operating from 12.00pm to 2.00pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) rather than 11.30am to 2.30pm as is the case with the current trial service. The service will continue to be free to use for anyone, including the general public with no changes to the existing route or frequency.
The lowest bid submitted to the competitive tender exercise was from Ipswich Buses Ltd at a rate of £64.40 per day, which equals approximately £16,300 per annum or £48,900 over a three year period and a decision has been made to accept this.
The main alternative option would be not to fund the service and let it cease without any form of replacement.
Decision type: Non-key
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Wards affected: Alexandra; Gipping;
Notice of proposed decision first published: 16/04/2018
Decision due: 26 Mar 2018 by Officer Decision