Agenda item

Matters referred to committee


The chairman reminded the committee about the presentation they had received at the last meeting, from Stagecoach.  Council had referred this issue to the committee and as such, a formal response needed to be agreed.


The Chairman proposed the following response (copies of which had been circulated in advance of the meeting):


At its meeting on the 17 October 2016, Council considered a petition regarding changes, by Stagecoach, to the C Service; namely the removal of the service to Springbank Way in its entirety.  During the debate it was decided that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee should consider bus services in general and how they could be better delivered in Cheltenham.


Rupert Cox, Managing Director for Stagecoach (West), attended the 28 November 2016 meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  He gave a presentation which was followed by a question and answer session with members (draft minutes are attached).


Some of the key points included:  


·         The biggest challenge facing Stagecoach was congestion.  The knock on impact of a journey taking 5-10 minutes longer than it should ultimately resulted in a journey not operating, currently measured at 0.5% of journeys.   Bus priority measures would not only allow bus journeys to be speeded up but they would also be more predictable as the bus would journey unhindered.   Tewkesbury Road in particular would benefit from a bus lane, and whilst unpopular with the public, the business case for the A40 scheme had merit. 

·         North West Cheltenham was, in Stagecoach’s view, a good area for development as there was potential to add a park and ride service.  This would allow for existing services to be made more frequent and given the size of the site, allow for new services: to the Hospital and/or train station for example.  It was suggested that affordable housing should be located closer to bus stops and that is was not advisable to build initial phases at the back of a site and furthest away from existing bus stops. 

·         The cost of parking in Cheltenham for two hours was the same as it had been 10 years ago.  Stagecoach, were willing to work in partnership with the council and develop a written agreement that if parking charges increased, bus fares would be reduced.  Nottingham City Council had introduced a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL); a charge on employers who provide workplace parking, a type of congestion charging scheme.  Money raised from the WPL goes towards the extension of the existing tram system, the redevelopment of Nottingham Rail Station and also supports the Link bus network.


The Overview and Scrutiny Committee felt that these were areas where there was scope to explore the options within existing projects/initiatives such as when planning the North West Development and reviewing the car parking strategy for Council.  The congestion issues should be raised with the county council as part of local transport planning for Cheltenham.


Council may like to instruct Officers to ensure these areas are covered in relevant project scopes or request that Gloucestershire County Council, where applicable, investigate further.  


Upon a vote it was unanimously


RESOLVED that the response to Council (above) be agreed and tabled at the next appropriate meeting.