Jazz 3 bus service in Basingstoke petition
Response from Hampshire County Council, March 2014
Most bus services in Hampshire, in common with the rest of England, outside London, are planned and operated on a commercial basis by bus companies and are not funded by, or under the control of, the County Council. The Jazz 3 is a commercial service and whilst we have worked with the bus company to retain services where possible, including in South Ham and the Berg Estate and by funding an additional service, ultimately where services do not pay, these are commercial decisions and a matter for the company.
Most daytime bus services in Basingstoke are commercial and are routed where the bus company believes that they will carry most passengers as it is passenger fares which meet their costs. Until recently the County Council funded two daytime services in Basingstoke, the 4 to the Hospital, which we instructed the bus company to retain on its current route through South Ham, and the 14 to Tadley which is unaffected by the Stagecoach commercial changes. If we had not intervened, the 4 would have been lost from South Ham and the Berg Estate.
From 16 February, we have been funding an additional service, the 12, to cover Stagecoach commercial bus service withdrawals to Hatch Warren, Brighton Hill and Black Dam. This will be reviewed later in the year when tenders for subsidised bus services in the Basingstoke are due for renewal.
Stagecoach have made changes to their commercial services throughout Basingstoke, changing frequencies and altering cross-town links as some of the previous services were no longer economic following changes in travel patterns or sufficient passenger numbers not being achieved. Bus companies are not permitted to run routes at a loss, and it was the company view that the longer loop on the Jazz 3 did not cover the costs of the extra bus that this required.
Buckland Avenue and Woodroffe Drive are no longer served by the Jazz 3 but continue to be served by the 4 and additionally by the new 11. The 11 replaces the Jazz 3 on Brackley Way. Following the changes, Stagg Hill, part of Sandys Road, and Hill View Road are no longer served but to have provided a subsidised service to these roads would have incurred the cost of an additional vehicle or involved taking the 4 away from other stops used by residents. I appreciate that less mobile residents will have difficulty walking to the services at either ends of these roads and for those affected, the County Council, jointly with the Borough Council, funds a Dial-a-Ride service which provides transport for those unable to get to their nearest bus stop.
The County Council has worked closely with the bus company to retain the route of the 4 and to provide additional funding, from the limited budget currently available, for an hourly service on the 12 for areas which would otherwise not have a service. The bus company recognises that the changes to the Jazz 3 will not be popular with passengers in the Berg Estate but the previous route was not viable from their point of view. By this letter, I will ensure that they are aware of the significant concern demonstrated by the petition and ask that they respond to the issues raised including the co-ordination of the 4 and 11 where possible.
Councillor Seán Woodward
Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment