£3.5m for hi-tech bus information

Daily Echo: £3.5m for hi-tech bus information £3.5m for hi-tech bus information

COUNTY chiefs are set to spend £3.5m on a hi-tech bus information system – even though routes have been slashed.

The county council plans to invest in a new “real time” system designed to give passengers up-tothe minute information on bus arrivals via satellite. But many bus users are furious that vital routes in their communities are being cut.

The council already has a system in Winchester city, Basingstoke centre, Gosport and Fareham but wants to extend it for a further four years after the current contract ends in 2013.

Bus stops are fitted with electronic notice boards showing how many minutes to the next bus. The information is also available via the Internet, mobile phone app and text messaging.

A further £698,000 is to be spent by the county on “Oyster” style smart tickets for bus and ferry travel in south Hampshire.

The plans come after the council made a £2.2m cut in a subsidy to bus companies last year to operate unprofitable routes in rural areas, weekends and evenings as part of its two-year £100m savings drive.

On top of this, the Government rural bus subsidy was reduced by £544,000. As a result about 100 routes have been slashed.

Some services were reduced from six-days-a-week to five, three or even two in some areas and some villages lost Sunday and evening buses.

An estimated £4.5m will be spent on the real time bus information system over four years, including in Southampton and Portsmouth city council areas. The county council has agreed to pay £3.5m.

About £1.5m will come from the Department for Transport. Companies will be asked to bid for the contract.

A spokesman for Bus Users UK (Hampshire) said: “There is Government funding from one pot of money to improve public transport while at the same time local authority rural bus subsidies have been cut, so people are cut-off from the network they want to use.”

Councillor Keith House , leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group on the council said his party opposed the bus cuts.

But he added: “We support this one-off funding to get more realtime information out to passengers.

It should increase the take-up of commercial services and the remaining buses the county have not cut.”

Environment and transport chief Councillor Mel Kendal said the £3.5m included Government cash to make bus travel more attractive and developers’ contributions to improve transport infrastructure.

The Tory council chief said “The majority of this money is Government specified funding which cannot be spent on other items such as bus subsidies.”

He said the council was still spending almost £6m a year subsidising loss-making routes.

Comments (11)

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6:30pm Wed 19 Sep 12

kingnotail says...

How about some new buses? A good 75% of the First buses are 15+ years old.
How about some new buses? A good 75% of the First buses are 15+ years old. kingnotail

7:57pm Wed 19 Sep 12

Zeo says...

They should give up on buses, over priced, slow and just uncomfortable, trams & rail are the future, oil will not last for ever.
They should give up on buses, over priced, slow and just uncomfortable, trams & rail are the future, oil will not last for ever. Zeo

12:09am Thu 20 Sep 12

bazzeroz says...

More c.rap from the bus companies and councils. Most people are local bus users and know the times of the buses, when they turn up! Oh, just noticed the last sentence, quote:council was still spending almost £6m a year subsidising loss-making routes..............
.......... WHY? They run a business, take the losses like any other company does, morons!!
More c.rap from the bus companies and councils. Most people are local bus users and know the times of the buses, when they turn up! Oh, just noticed the last sentence, quote:council was still spending almost £6m a year subsidising loss-making routes.............. .......... WHY? They run a business, take the losses like any other company does, morons!! bazzeroz

1:29am Thu 20 Sep 12

IanRRR says...

kingnotail wrote:
How about some new buses? A good 75% of the First buses are 15+ years old.
Not sure if you have the percentages right, but they certainly seem to have a very aged fleet. The trouble is, rumour has it that they are losing money hand over fist, so investment is just not there. Then look at the First bid for the rail franchise, and it would appear that buses are really not their priority any more. Then they go and start running a service to Marchwood, the same route that another operator has, I think, struggled to make a penny on for years! You start to wonder who is in charge there....and why they are in charge!
[quote][p][bold]kingnotail[/bold] wrote: How about some new buses? A good 75% of the First buses are 15+ years old.[/p][/quote]Not sure if you have the percentages right, but they certainly seem to have a very aged fleet. The trouble is, rumour has it that they are losing money hand over fist, so investment is just not there. Then look at the First bid for the rail franchise, and it would appear that buses are really not their priority any more. Then they go and start running a service to Marchwood, the same route that another operator has, I think, struggled to make a penny on for years! You start to wonder who is in charge there....and why they are in charge! IanRRR

1:36am Thu 20 Sep 12

IanRRR says...

bazzeroz wrote:
More c.rap from the bus companies and councils. Most people are local bus users and know the times of the buses, when they turn up! Oh, just noticed the last sentence, quote:council was still spending almost £6m a year subsidising loss-making routes..............

.......... WHY? They run a business, take the losses like any other company does, morons!!
If the bus companies were to "take the loss", they would just not bother running the service that was making the loss. Bus companies are not there to lose money. You make it sound as if the bus companies have some involvement in this.... I would bet they would much rather have the money to upgrade buses and services, rather than bus stop information systems, that will just get wrecked by vandals, just as the new bus shelters (that were not needed!), are being.
[quote][p][bold]bazzeroz[/bold] wrote: More c.rap from the bus companies and councils. Most people are local bus users and know the times of the buses, when they turn up! Oh, just noticed the last sentence, quote:council was still spending almost £6m a year subsidising loss-making routes.............. .......... WHY? They run a business, take the losses like any other company does, morons!![/p][/quote]If the bus companies were to "take the loss", they would just not bother running the service that was making the loss. Bus companies are not there to lose money. You make it sound as if the bus companies have some involvement in this.... I would bet they would much rather have the money to upgrade buses and services, rather than bus stop information systems, that will just get wrecked by vandals, just as the new bus shelters (that were not needed!), are being. IanRRR

8:47am Thu 20 Sep 12

Independent Thought says...

kingnotail wrote:
How about some new buses? A good 75% of the First buses are 15+ years old.
Embarassing isn't? Even the photo shows a bus that is 12 years old.

Hardly the modern image that First wants to portray?

I heard that they only invest in new buses in the really big cities (Leeds, Manchester, etc) and that smaller cities like Southampton get the 'hand-me downs'!
[quote][p][bold]kingnotail[/bold] wrote: How about some new buses? A good 75% of the First buses are 15+ years old.[/p][/quote]Embarassing isn't? Even the photo shows a bus that is 12 years old. Hardly the modern image that First wants to portray? I heard that they only invest in new buses in the really big cities (Leeds, Manchester, etc) and that smaller cities like Southampton get the 'hand-me downs'! Independent Thought

9:17am Thu 20 Sep 12

ohec says...

The whole idea of the system is to get people out of their cars onto a reliable bus its designed as an environmental scheme for the masses in towns, not to improve the bus service overall. But cost is the biggest factor make them cheaper and people will use them.
The whole idea of the system is to get people out of their cars onto a reliable bus its designed as an environmental scheme for the masses in towns, not to improve the bus service overall. But cost is the biggest factor make them cheaper and people will use them. ohec

9:23am Thu 20 Sep 12

Might SS says...

Great !!!!! We'll know the buses are late now - officially !!!
Great !!!!! We'll know the buses are late now - officially !!! Might SS

9:48am Thu 20 Sep 12

Georgem says...

Presume this is a follow-on from the oh-so-successful Romanse Project. I look forward to electronic signs saying "Romanse Project" on every bus stop in the town soon.
Presume this is a follow-on from the oh-so-successful Romanse Project. I look forward to electronic signs saying "Romanse Project" on every bus stop in the town soon. Georgem

2:18pm Thu 20 Sep 12

kingnotail says...

Independent Thought says...
8:47am Thu 20 Sep 12

kingnotail wrote:
How about some new buses? A good 75% of the First buses are 15+ years old.
Embarassing isn't? Even the photo shows a bus that is 12 years old.

Hardly the modern image that First wants to portray?

I heard that they only invest in new buses in the really big cities (Leeds, Manchester, etc) and that smaller cities like Southampton get the 'hand-me downs'!”

-

May seem like it at first, but even all the UniLink/BlueStar buses seem to be much newer and cleaner. First is a truly abysmal company, and represent the folly of privatisation - the customers will take what they're given, and pay through the nose for it to line the pockets of the fatcat shareholders and directors, as the much-vaunted 'competition' simply does not exist. Stagecoach usually seem to do a much better job, or it seemed like it when I visited Brighton and Worthing recently.
Independent Thought says... 8:47am Thu 20 Sep 12 kingnotail wrote: How about some new buses? A good 75% of the First buses are 15+ years old. Embarassing isn't? Even the photo shows a bus that is 12 years old. Hardly the modern image that First wants to portray? I heard that they only invest in new buses in the really big cities (Leeds, Manchester, etc) and that smaller cities like Southampton get the 'hand-me downs'!” - May seem like it at first, but even all the UniLink/BlueStar buses seem to be much newer and cleaner. First is a truly abysmal company, and represent the folly of privatisation - the customers will take what they're given, and pay through the nose for it to line the pockets of the fatcat shareholders and directors, as the much-vaunted 'competition' simply does not exist. Stagecoach usually seem to do a much better job, or it seemed like it when I visited Brighton and Worthing recently. kingnotail

2:24pm Thu 20 Sep 12

kingnotail says...

We are told that privatisation of buses and trains will bring better services and cheaper fares due to competition. Except it doesn't exist - one company runs the majority of services in one area, and thus can treat the customers however they like, as they know people will use the services whatever as they have no choice. The sooner the British people wake up to this fact and refuse to be forcefed this Thatcherite rubbish by the right-wing press, the better. We are a laughing stock to the rest of Europe (and a large part of the rest of the world).
We are told that privatisation of buses and trains will bring better services and cheaper fares due to competition. Except it doesn't exist - one company runs the majority of services in one area, and thus can treat the customers however they like, as they know people will use the services whatever as they have no choice. The sooner the British people wake up to this fact and refuse to be forcefed this Thatcherite rubbish by the right-wing press, the better. We are a laughing stock to the rest of Europe (and a large part of the rest of the world). kingnotail

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