Some 25 members gathered in the Council Chamber at Burnham-on-Crouch, courtesy of Burnham Town Council, on Wednesday 1st November 2017. Notes will be available in due course. Meantime...
EHere is a flashback to our Members' Meeting on 26th October last year !
Kevin Nunn (Essex County Council) presented current proposals for a “total transport” pilot project within the Dengie and possibly extending into Maldon. He explained that he was a Senior Policy & Strategy Officer currently working on this application with the ECC bus team, and reported as follows...
Research shows that a switch to Demand Responsive Transport leads to a doubling of journeys, but costs are rising and funding is under increasing pressure. In five or ten years time, DRT may become unsustainable, hence the need to start looking at other possibilities. ECC is committed to ensuring that people living outside urban areas are able to access ‘travel solutions’, of which DRT is but one. The future will bring new possibilities such as driver-less vehicles and increasingly sophisticated computer and digital systems.
The proposed pilot will be a fairly simple affair. With support from the Department for Transport, and in partnership with Suffolk County Council, ECC is working with a company (‘Futuregov’) that offers a computer facility for operators and members of the public to (a) put routes onto a system and (b) book journeys. Access is via computer, smartphone, or telephone conversation. ECC are hopeful of being up and running within a matter of weeks...
A question and answer session followed:
Q: What about competition issues?
A: These do not arise, ECC will fund the booking delivery mechanism but will not be providing any additional funding for journeys.
Q: Will bus passes be accepted? A: Probably.
Q: Who will set fares? A: There will be no change from present situation.
Q: For how long will ECC support the booking system costs and what happens when the pump priming period comes to an end? A: No answer was available.
Q: Given that the recent tender for ‘D’ services attracted only one bidder, what makes ECC confident of more operators coming forward to make this pilot a success? Would it not be better to look at villages bordering on a competitive corridor such as Epping-Harlow? A: No answer was available.