Cllr Winship, inquiry chairman, to present the six-month review report for the bus links inquiry.
Cllr Winship, chairman of the Bus Links Inquiry presented its six-month review, commenting that all recommendations had been completed as below. She emphasised the need for all members of the public to realise that dial-a-ride was for everyone, not just elderly, infirm or disabled residents.
Progress on recommendation a)
a) Given the crucial importance of transport to the community of the Forest of Dean and its current inadequacies, the panel strongly recommends that the council appoint a transport champion at the earliest opportunity, with the role as defined below.
Full Council appointed Cllr Elsmore as its transport champion on 24 May 2012.
Progress on recommendation b)
Cllr Winship reminded panel members that the Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee had changed recommendation b) from the original report to the following:
b) That the Leader of the Council write to the Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, the Leader of Monmouthshire County Council, the relevant minister of the Welsh Assembly and of the government in Westminster urging them to improve the integration of transport provision throughout the district and cross-border
Monmouthshire had responded by inviting the council leader and transport champion to an informal meeting with its relevant portfolio holder.
The panel agreed to feed questions and points about cross-border transport to Cllr Elsmore, who would raise them at the meeting. He agreed that he would raise the issues around buses to and from Monmouth and Chepstow.
Progress on recommendation c)
c) That the Strategic Director write to the responsible officer at the county council asking them to update the transport champion on changes as they happen.
Cllr Elsmore said that Alan Barrett had agreed to meet him on a regular basis.
Progress on recommendation d)
d) That the council ask parish councils to report bus timetable and reliability complaints to the relevant Community Engagement Officer for the transport champion to act on.
The Community Engagement Team had made parish councils aware, but had not received any issues to date. There would be North and South area parish council transport forums in July to achieve a common view.
Progress on recommendation e)
e) That the council write a statement expressing its full support for the Forest of Dean Local Partnership’s lottery bid (Reaching Communities) to fund the coordination and marketing of community transport in the district
The initial expression of interest had been unsuccessful, due to concerns over the sustainability of the intention to have a person employed to coordinate and market community transport. However the county council was helping to put in an imminent revised expression of interest. The panel noted that to submit a full bid would have significant time-resource implications.
Progress on recommendation f)
f) That the council proactively support local people’s transport needs by providing details of community transport to council offices, leisure centres, libraries, local doctors’ surgeries and hospitals within the county
The details had been sent out.
Cllr Elsmore reported that he had talked to Monmouthshire County Council and would seek to do the same with Gloucestershire County Council. He had held productive talks with Stagecoach and was engaged with the community help make things happen. He gave the example of the St Briavels community bus.