Margaret Smith, Team Leader Transport Planning, introduced the report, stating that it was formulated following a passed motion at Full Council. A specialist transport consultancy was recruited for the report’s findings and a presentation from leading consultants with expertise in public transport was received. The motion included five objectives, and which sought to review the council’s activity in relation to bus operations. Section 106 funding was reviewed in terms of developer contributions used to fund bus routes over the last 10 years. It scoped out the use of new powers set out in the Bus Services Act 2017, specifically around the use of advanced quality or enhanced partnership schemes. Highlights of the bus improvement schedule will include improved information on bus services including roadside information, guaranteed bus friendly developments, using new powers from the 2017 Act, more cooperation with bus companies including a say on logistics and an annual Warwickshire bus conference. Warwickshire County and Coventry City Councils submitted a joint bid to the Department for Transport for electric buses for all Warwickshire districts and boroughs and Coventry. Bus usage levels in Warwickshire were 20% of pre-Covid-19 levels and Margaret Smith concluded that the motion would help the council achieve carbon neutrality.
In response to Councillor Shilton, Margaret Smith confirmed that the number of university students travelling to university will be much lower than previous numbers and social distancing measures are implemented by the bus companies.
Following a query from Councillor Andy Jenns, it was noted that whoever owns a bus shelter must maintain it. Bus shelters are owned either by the County Council, Borough / District Council or Town / Parish Councils. Bus shelters provided within new development will be owned by the Developer until the highway is adopted by the County Council who would then assume responsibility for ownership. County Councillors may use their delegated budget to fund provision of a bus shelter in their Electoral Division. In these cases, WCC County Highways assume responsibility for the ownership of the bus shelter upon installation.
Councillor Kondakor praised the report and raised that S106 funding for bus services is weak and complicated and it must be clearer on where buses go and when, especially during the pandemic; Margaret Smith agreed with this. Margaret Smith stated that they created a schedule of desired improvements as part of the local transport plan review and they can now act on S106 issues immediately.
In response to Councillor Holland, Margaret Smith confirmed that if the electric bus bid is successful then they would be able to upgrade the electric power supplied needed.
In response to Councillor Fradgely, Margaret Smith stated that the bus corridor focuses on Coventry to Leamington Spa and this was a collaborative approach with operators. Work will be undertaken with bus operators regarding ticket types and branding, but the bus operators must be offered incentives from the highway authority for them to do this. Nigel Whyte, Prinipal Transport Planner, and Andrew Stokes, Network Planning Manager, added that a route is ... view the full minutes text for item 5