Future of the 747 Centrebus meeting held last night
The following report has been provided by Cllr Shuttleworth who attended the meeting. If you use the bus, please do read.
Here is a summary of what was said and discussed at the 747 meeting last night.
Passenger numbers between Dec 16 and June 17 are up 10% but Centrebus still need to take another £200 per day (31 passengers) in order to be commercially viable without the need for subsidies.
Negotiations are taking place with Leicester City Council to change the terminus of the 747 from St Margarets Bus Station to The Haymarket. This will allow an extra 5 minutes for turnaround and should improve punctuality. Once an agreement has been reached a new timetable will be published.
Using all the data gathered over the previous 12 months, Centrebus will make a decision at the end of September as to whether the 747 service is commercially viable without subsidy. It was felt by those at the meeting that it will not be. Should this be the decision, both Leicestershire County Council and Rutland County Council will then be asked to consider providing further subsidies in order to keep the service. There will be a political process to go through by both Councils to make this decision which could take up to a month. If the decision is not to provide further subsidies, there is a statutory duty for both Councils to provide some kind of service but what that will be is not known at this time.
If passenger numbers continue to increase it is hoped that the subsidies required will be less than the £60,000 being paid this year.
Fare increases were discussed. Centrebus say that fares are increased yearly, usually by 2.5% in line with other companies. A higher fare increase for the 747, of between 5% and 20%, was discussed in order to improve the commercial viability of the service and reduce the amount of subsidy required. A discussion then followed about making a fare increase for the 747 now rather than in October/November when it was due. It was agreed by those present not to support a fare increase until after September, once Centrebus had made its decision on viability.
Centrebus offered to provide a bus and staff for a roadshow in Uppingham or any village that is interested in promoting the use of the bus and to answer any questions from the public. Members from Uppingham accepted the offer and suggested a Friday when it is market day.
The date of the next meeting is Wednesday 18th October 2017.