Warning for Red & White over bus reliability

first_imgRed & White Services, trading as Stagecoach in South Wales, escaped with a warning over failures to operate a registered local service and timetable problems after Traffic Commissioner (TC) Nick Jones was satisfied that the failures had been remedied by the time the firm appeared before him.Bus Compliance Officer Sian Thomas told the TC that monitoring between 4 and 16 January revealed an overall punctuality rate of 89.17%. Out of 223 observations during a subsequent monitoring, the only failures were 15 late departures. That equated to an overall punctuality rate of 93.27%.For the company, it was said that having experienced major traffic delays at the site of the University Hospital of Wales, a decision was made to revise routes to improve punctuality.Prior to implementing changes in August 2016, it received what it thought was positive news in relation to traffic management within the hospital complex that would further aid punctuality.Unfortunately, it transpired that it was not the case as the changes at the hospital simply increased the volume of traffic elsewhere on the route; negating any improvement in punctuality at the hospital.There was a relatively high degree of illegal on-road parking especially within the Caerphilly Borough Council area which was not enforced as effectively as the company would have liked. An additional feature contributing to timetable problems were major roundabout works. Another problem was that a bus lane was not laid out in accord with guidelines which resulted in insufficient road space to use it. That was eventually put right. Some of the failures were the result of staff misconduct, which was promptly identified, and proportion action taken.In his decision the TC said that the company had a large number of registered services in the area, most were not the cause of any significant complaint. He was satisfied that this was an operator that had sought to address the problems identified, some of which were relatively unusual. It would have been wholly disproportionate to have made decisions affecting the ability of the company to register further timetables, or to impose a financial penalty.Enforcement of timetable compliance was dealt with in a very different way in England, when compared to Wales. Historically, all traffic areas had a Bus Compliance Officer. However, the Welsh Government provided a subsidy to enable an additional two posts within Wales. The three bus compliance officers in Wales developed in a different way to their colleagues in England and their professional expertise was acknowledged as being to a very high standard. As a consequence, the standard of timetable compliance within Wales had for well over a decade been far higher than that within England outside of London.Existing legislation provided for a Welsh Minister to add to the list of sanctions available to a TC in the event of non-adherence with a registered timetable. Additionally, the Wales Act 2017 made provision for the relevant Welsh Minister to issue formal guidance to the TC in relation to bus punctuality. He noted that the Wales Act was yet to be implemented in that respect.last_img read more

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