Agenda item

Bus Operators - Update


(1)       First Group

(2)       Stagecoach

(3)       Rotherham Community Transport




-        Approximately 70-71% of pre-Covid level.  Daily payers slightly above that with children and young people having come back a lot stronger (just over 100%)

-        Concessions was down at approximately 60%

-        These trends were broadly replicated across the country

-        Weekend travel had come back stronger thought primarily due to the leisure market returning

-        Sundays were running at approximately 85% of pre-Covid levels

-        It was a really challenging environment for operators due to the significant cost increases of wages/fuel/parts



-        Of the 5 Stagecoach depots, 4 in South Yorkshire and one in North Derbyshire, there were 40 driver vacant positions.  However, the situation was no worse than other operators

-        Rawmarsh depot had done an excellent job in the current difficult times, however, there had been a number of leavers and the amount of lost mileage had increased.  Measures were in place in an attempt to address the situation and discussions with Trade Unions had taken place.  Drivers from other areas had been drafted in to help in the short term

-        The training school was busy.  Drivers could be recruited but the training took time; as fast as new drivers were trained people were leaving.  Exit interviewed were conducted and there was an understanding of the reasons why people left but it was a very difficult time for the industry as a whole


Discussion ensued with the following issues raised and an explanation provided:-


·        There had been service changes as from 2nd October.  Stagecoach was still in receipt of some funding from the Government (Bus Recovery Grant), however, there had had to be some withdrawal of services.  The Nos. 220 and 222 services had withdrawn as they had been extremely marginal services pre-Covid.  Post-pandemic, when buses were 30% less people, they were sustainable services.  The Grant guidance was very clear that it could not be used to prop up services that had no realistic prospect of becoming viable in the future.  Stagecoach had shared their proposals with the SYMCA and the No. 223 service around Wath was introduced as a partial replacement for the original 222


·        When contracts had come up for tender as from 2nd October, taking the staffing position at that time into account, Stagecoach had bid for 3 routes – Nos. 21, 135 and 137 – day time only – as it was felt not to be in a position to cover evenings and Sundays as well.  The 135 and 137 were previously provided by First.  No. 21 was a combination of 3 routes and serviced by a single decker bus, as per the tender submitted,  as Rawmarsh depot did not operate double decker buses. 


·        As stated above the No. 21 was serviced by a single decker bus.  Put in a temporary fix which started last weekend with the timetable amended slightly.  A conversation was required with SYMCA as to how it would work.  Some journeys were known to be extremely busy so extra resources would be required 


·        The £2 fare cap in South Yorkshire was to be introduced on 1st November and was funded by the SYMCA until 31st December, 2022.  From the 1st January, 2023, the same scheme would be funded by Central Government for 3 months until the end of March, 2023


·        Bellows Road development – a discussion took place on this issue at Minute No. 28


Rotherham Community Transport

Adrian Parkinson had submitted his apologies for the meeting.