Connectivity Cabinet Member – Minutes – 1 October 2019

The corresponding report of the following item (Minute 2 refers) contains exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

2 PROCUREMENT OF A DEMAND RESPONSIVE TRANSPORT (DRT) BUS SERVICE – The Director: Operations submitted a report informing the Cabinet Member of the expiration of the existing contract for Call Connect and the requirement for a replacement service, and seeking approval for the procurement plan for the transformational Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) service.

As part of the Department for Transport sponsored Total Transport Initiative, the council developed a pilot project to test the viability of DRT bus services in the more rural parts of the area. The pilot project ran until March 2017, at which time the council decided to maintain the services. It procured operators to deliver the CallConnect services with a call centre and the buses run by a local operator.

Since March 2017 it had become apparent that there were a number of issues in the current arrangement, including scheduling that led to poor vehicle utilisation and difficulties in booking trips as the call centre regularly went through to an answer phone. As a result of related concerns raised by customers, a Pre-Market Consultation was developed and issued in late 2018. The response to this was overwhelming with a range of ideas and options put forward. It was evident the in the subsequent years since starting CallConnect the market had moved forward at a pace and both customer expectation and service capabilities were far in advance of those available in 2017.

The report set out options for the future service provision.

Resolved – (a) That the procurement route, as set out in Option 4 in the report, in order to ensure the continuity of the service be achieved by 1 April 2020, be approved, and (b) that the outcome of the procurement process was aligned with the financial planning process and that investment decisions be made at that point.