On Monday 10th November 2014, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet called for a county-wide review of public transport.
The call for the review follows an in-depth study during the past six months by the County Council’s all-party Environment, Transport and Localities Select Committee.
Presenting the findings of the study, select Committee Chairman Warren Whyte, said it was a deep dive look at County Council support for public transport in the light of current financial pressures. Recommendations aimed to help the council’s future vision and policy-making to support public transport more effectively and efficiently.
The Select Committee had recommended that a fresh joined-up, long-term strategic vision for public transport over the next 20 years would better serve residents’ needs, rather than following the current practice of basing support on demand for existing services in isolation.
And the committee said there was a strong case for developing county council leadership in driving better community transport schemes – and more of them – to increase local on-demand services in areas commercial operators are unable to serve.
The Cabinet accepted the principle of leading a total transport approach, and Transport Cabinet Member Ruth Vigor-Hedderly said consultations were taking place to include a specialist team with a lead officer to cover public, community, home-school and social care transport in the council’s new Transport, Economy and Environment business unit from April 2015.
Ms Vigor-Hedderly confirmed the Select Committee’s recommendations would be included in the development of the next Local Transport Plan through 2015 and within the Business Unit Plans.
‘This is about finding new ways forward to provide transport for rural communities, our vulnerable and older residents, and our children and young people, that more closely matches their needs,‘ she said.
Welcoming the Cabinet decision, Warren Whyte said: ‘I’m pleased that Cabinet has accepted the report in full. We just can’t keep on salami-slicing budgets, and the work we have done paves the way for a proper strategic shift, which will allow a better, more efficient way of supporting public transport for everyone in Buckinghamshire.‘