ATCO News Summer 2014

ATCO News Summer 2014The latest edition of ATCO News, sponsored by Externiture, has reached screens across the country today.  You can download it by clicking here.  In this quarters edition:

Read more: ATCO News Summer 2014

Good news masks severe problems for socially necessary bus services

Costs of replacing local bus contracts have fallen for the 5th consecutive year according to the results of the Association of Transport Co-Ordinating Officers (ATCO) 2013 Price Expenditure and Competition (PEC) Survey.

The sixteenth annual PEC survey, shows that the cost of replacing local bus contracts fell by an average of 3.6% in the past 12 months.   

91 out of 130 Local Transport Authorities outside London responded to the survey which gives a unique snapshot of transport spending by local authorities.  This falls into three categories, contracts for socially necessary local bus services, education transport and special educational needs (SEN) transport. In more detail:

  • In order to maintain existing levels of support for socially necessary local buses, budgets would have to increase by an average of around 41/2% whereas cuts are already being made.
  • Some 26% of local authorities overall said they will cut services by March 2014 in order to stay within budget;
  • 27% of local authorities reported an increase in the rate at which commercial bus services are being de-registered, with 60% seeing a similar rate to the previous year;
  • The local authority spending cuts are offset in part by the continuing falls in contract prices, but formerly commercial services also meet social needs leading to calls for additional contracted services;
  • Costs of replacing school transport contracts fell by an average of 7.3% in the past 12 months to September 2013, for the 7th consecutive year with local authorities estimating that they would need a 2.1% budget growth to retain existing school transport service levels;
  • The cost of replacing SEN transport contracts fell, again for the 7th consecutive year, by an average of 3.2% but local authorities estimate that they will need 2.5% budget growth next year to retain existing SEN transport service levels.

ATCO chair David Blainey said: "At first glance this is good news, but the reality is that cuts in local authority spending in line with Government policy mean that authorities still cannot afford to support all the services for which there are real social needs."

Read more: Good news masks severe problems for socially necessary bus services

Latest ATCO News Available - Winter 2014

ATCO News Winter 2014 has landed, with officers across the UK receiving their copies over the last few days.

You can open yours online, by clicking here and logging in.  Alternatively, if you are not a member, you can sign up by calling 0844 209 6556. 

ATCO response to the Campaign for Better Buses report "Buses In Crisis. A report on Bus Funding across England and Wales"

ATCO welcomes the findings of the report, which identifies the risk to bus services that rely on council funding to operate, particularly but not only in large parts of rural Britain.

The findings support recent wide-ranging research that clearly identifies the value of bus services in enabling people to work, providing access to the essential opportunities that young people require to develop, in providing greater independence at all ages, and in improving health through providing access to increasingly remote health services and to healthy and active lifestyles.

The key government aims - of reducing public costs through prevention, by getting people off benefits and into work,  and reducing social care costs through promoting greater personal independence at all ages - is underpinned by bus services as the dominant public transport mode – and the essential connectivity that these services provide. There is little doubt that further cuts to council funded bus services will fatally undermine these key government policies in many areas of the country.

Government is urged to act quickly to protect these vital bus services, in the light of the weight of evidence that bus services are essential to these policy aims, before it is too late.


Transport Select Committee announces their programme of work for the next year

ATCO welcomes the House of Common Transport Committee's programme for 2013 to 2014 and particularly the committee's focus on Passenger Transport in Isolated Communities and on Local Decision making on Transport Expenditure.

It is hoped that a key element of both these topics will be to examine how to end the continuing threat to council revenue budget expenditure on public transport support for journeys that provide necessary connectivity, access and opportunities whether for the young, to employment or essential services for those who rely on the bus. This is in the context that bus travel makes up by far the majority of all public transport journeys, and many well used routes rely on this support to continue.

ATCO Chair David Blainey said:
"With recent announcements about further cuts to local authority budgets, it is important that every decision is analysed.  Local Authorities are more and more transparent and with that transparency it is essential that we show how innovation and working with transport operators can only go so far before the real losers – the public – feel the effect.

"ATCO Members will be willing to present evidence to the committee, supporting that local bus services generate in excess of £3 for every £1 spent."

ATCO Bus Executive Chair Bruce Thompson said:
"Many local authorities work closely with CPT – but we would encourage operators to continue that partnership and build on it to work together.  We are all facing challenges and now, more than ever, we need to join our focus together that our customers – the travelling public – are suffering."

Read more: Transport Select Committee announces their programme of work for the next year

ATCO Board – Election of CHAIR & VICE CHAIR

Nominations for the posts of ATCO Chair and Vice Chair are now being taken.

Both roles are exciting opportunities to represent the transport professionals of ATCO at a national level, whether providing input to policy-shaping or influence in our relations with other agencies in the transport field and government departments.  You will also have the opportunity to lead the ATCO Board, overseeing the business of ATCO.

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