The Chair of the Economic Regeneration and Transport Scrutiny Panel outlined the Panels main findings, conclusions and recommendations following the Panels scrutiny investigation of the topic 'Withdrawal of Supported Bus Services'.
The Board considered the following recommendations of the Panel, based on evidence submitted and conclusions reached:-
That Middlesbrough Council continues to work closely with all local bus operators to ensure that:-
a) Wherever possible, the Government-funded Bus Services Operators Grant be used to support services that might otherwise be unprofitable and could be cancelled.
b) Local Councillors be kept informed of any bus service withdrawals or significant bus service changes.
2. That a feasibility study be undertaken to determine whether there were any further roads in Middlesbrough that might benefit from the introduction of bus lanes and, if so, that a bid be prepared for future Capital Programme funding. In doing so:-
a) Account must be taken of the potential impact on local businesses and the impact of future housing developments.
b) The results of the exercise should be reported to the Scrutiny Panel.
Clarification was sought in relation to paragraph 22 of the submitted report which stated that "...the Council will help and support any community groups who wish to seek funding to run community transport initiatives and an existing budget of £20,500 will be used as development/match funding for innovative transport solutions to reduce the gaps in public transport provision in Middlesbrough." It was queried whether this money could be allocated to plug any gaps in public transport in Middlesbrough in the future. The Scrutiny Support Officer stated that the service area had advised that this budget had been available during the last financial year, therefore, he would clarify whether this was still the case.
It was suggested that if the budget still existed, this be added as an additional recommendation with the following wording:-
"That further consideration be given to how the budget of £20,500 to support community transport initiatives could be best promoted to ensure that it was used for maximum benefit. This should include involving local Councillors as appropriate."
Members also discussed the issue of parking in Middlesbrough and considered that this could potentially be a worthwhile topic for the Economic Regeneration and Transport Scrutiny Panel to investigate, particularly with regard to identifying potential areas for additional parking, parking charges and potential bus lanes.
ORDERED as follows:-
That the findings and recommendations of the Economic Regeneration and Transport Scrutiny Panel be endorsed and referred to the Executive.
That the Overview and Scrutiny Board refer the topic of parking in Middlesbrough to the Economic Regeneration and Transport Scrutiny Panel for possible inclusion in its Work Programme for the 2016/17 Municipal Year.