North Yorkshire is one of ten local councils to join forces to stage a major conference with the aim of securing the future of public transport in the North of England.
The local authorities are coming together for Total Transport North 2015, an event being held at the National Railway Museum in York on Friday 23 October 2015, in a bid to highlight the issue of funding for local bus services and come up with solutions to keep services running and to improve them.
The Under Secretary of State for Transport, Andrew Jones MP, will be the keynote speaker at the conference, which is being chaired by East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
Working alongside East Riding of Yorkshire Council are nine other authorities: North Yorkshire County Council, North Lincolnshire Council, North East Lincolnshire Council, Lincolnshire County Council, Northumberland County Council, Durham County Council, Cheshire East Council, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and Transport for Greater Manchester.
All 10 authorities were successful in bidding for funding from the Department for Transport through its Total Transport Pilot Fund to improve transport links in their areas.
The idea behind Total Transport is to coordinate all different forms of public transport in each area in order to manage it better, make it more efficient and make the most of the transport funding each area receives.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Public Transport, who will attend the conference said:
In North Yorkshire we are already working with bus operators to retain a service network at a time when our budgets are under great pressure.
Retaining a passenger transport network across a large rural county like ours is crucially important to those of our residents who have little or no access to other means of transport.
We welcome the Government funding and the aims of this conference which give us a chance look at how we might coordinate efforts with our wider partners and improve transport provision further.
Traditionally different forms of transport have always worked separately – transport for health journeys, transport for work journeys, transport for school journeys etc.
Total Transport involves looking at all residents’ collective needs for transport, whatever they maybe, in order to see how all of the different types of transport – bus services, community transport, taxi services, patient transport etc – can all work together in an integrated way to meet that need.
This is particularly important in the current economic climate as all public bodies face challenging budget pressures.
By working together, and working smartly, local authorities, bus operators, community transport operators, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), ambulance trusts and other public bodies can share and joint-commission some of the services and resources to deliver residents cost effective services.
Councillor Andy Burton, portfolio holder for planning, highways and transportation at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said:
In this time of austerity, it’s vital that all public bodies work together to secure the future of local public transport.
We note the recent report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) about Total Transport areas, which suggests that local authorities should receive the budget for patient transport and take over the operation of those services.
However as a group of councils we passionately believe in working in partnership and have every confidence CCGs and ambulance trusts will support the Total Transport scheme and show we can all work together towards the common goal of cost effective local transport.