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  Umbrella Quality Partnership Agreement between
Bath & North East Somerset and First


Final Version 3/07/02


Forward in Partnership

The aim of this agreement for both Bath & North East Somerset Council and First in this Quality Partnership is quality improvements to bus services operating in the authority's area. The principal objective shared by both parties is to achieve year on year growth in bus passenger usage (passenger journeys).

Bath & North East Somerset is evolving and developing transport policies to achieve a more sustainable future for the area, balancing the needs of the community, the economy and the environment. Bath & North East Somerset recognises the benefits of bus travel in helping to combat the growth of car travel, reduce the problems of congestion, pollution and road safety while improving accessibility and social inclusion. The Bath & North East Somerset Local Transport Plan (July 2000) and subsequent Annual Progress Reports set out a policy framework for achieving a greater role for public transport in the area. Refer to sections 4.55 to 4.63 on pages 60 to 62 of the Bath & North East Somerset Local Transport Plan.

First wish to provide improved services and play a positive and innovative role within the transport market of the area. This builds upon the extensive network of frequent commercial services offered by First both across Bath and on Bath & North east Somerset's inter urban corridors. Over recent years significant investment has been made by First in customer care, low floor easy access vehicles, introduction of route specific publicity and an early move to ultra low sulphur diesel on all its vehicles.

However, a series of further measures is required to release the potential for bus companies to deliver the maximum benefits for all in terms or standards of service, accessibility and social inclusion. The most effective measures will be those developed within a commercial context where funding and investment will deliver an ongoing improvement to services that will yield maximum benefits for all.

In terms of the national transport policy context the Government's Transport White Paper (1998), the Ten Year Plan (2000) and the Transport Act 2000 provide a strategic direction for the development of Bus Quality Partnerships. These along with various DfT guidance documents set out a number of national public transport targets which fall within the remit of local authorities and transport operators to deliver, jointly.

Neither the bus operator nor the local authority can work alone to achieve their common goal. Each party has recognised the essential need to work together to achieve a better future for bus travel in Bath & North East Somerset.

Partnership Principles

This partnership agreement sets out principles for both parties to actively pursue to deliver real irnprovements in the bus passenger journey experience. individual 'Showcase Bus Corridor Quality Partnership Agreements' on selected corridors will be developed jointly and will set out specific details; on improvements that each party will commit to undertake.

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 Providing high quality bus services that will be reliable and environmentally friendly, and will offer existing and new passengers a good level of service, with value for money, is the essence of this agreement. This in turn will make a significant contribution to the promotion of social inclusiveness for local communities and residents. In terms of service reliability both parties recognise the important link between operational reliability and the need to provide attractive (i.e fast) journey times. These principles are aimed at increasing bus use, particularly modal shift from the private car.

Advances have already been made in Bath with substantial investment in low floor accessible vehicles, innovative tickets and publicity, introduction of ultra low sulphur diesel, bus priority, bus gates and Park & Ride, but more can (and must) be done to continue with progress in meeting Bath & North East Somerset and Central Governments policies for sustainable transport and planning.

  • First will provide customer care, additional low floor vehicles with improved accessibility and passenger facilities, increase the use of more efficient fuels and reduce emissions, develop further effective route branded publicity, co-operate in the provision of information and the timing of service registrations to enhance ease of use and encourage regular bus use.
  • Bath & North East Somerset will introduce further bus priorities and traffic management measures to improve journey times and reliability, and will improve waiting facilities and access to these facilities.
  • The Partnership will work together to promote and advertise awareness of the benefits of bus travel and the costs of car use and will present consistent, clear arguments in favour of bus and public transport.

Duration and Management of the Partnership

This Umbrella Partnership Agreement commences from June 2002 and will continue until June 2006, with a Joint Annual Review every year linked with the LTP Annual Progress Report, when there will be an opportunity to make adjustments in accordance emerging changes in priorities. This time frame co-ordinates with the Bath & North East Somerset Local Transport Plan (and is the same time frame for all English local authority Local Transport Plans). From June 2005 joint discussions will take place on continuing the Agreement into the future. This will occur in the context of preparations for the next Local Transport Plan, where Bath & North East Somerset will have an opportunity to review its whole policy framework in relation to the development of high quality public transport services.

The successful management of the Partnership will depend on both parties committing to the spirit of the partnership. The intention is to convene meetings on a quarterly basis in order to maintain momentum and to discuss progress in relation to specific projects or schemes, such as Showcase Bus Routes.

The main officer contacts are:

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 Bath & North East Sornerset Council  
 James Willcock - Team Leader Public Transport  tel 01225 477604
 Martin Williams - Senior Transportation Engineer  tel 01225 477602
  Lee Stoney - Public Transport Officer (Partnerships & Infrastructure)  tel 01225 477603
 Brian Noton - Managing Director  tel 01934 620122
 Russell Barrington-Crow - General Manger - Bath  tel 01225 466889

In consideration of difficulties or delays experienced from time to time in delivering projects or initiatives which often involve a consultation process and may also involve dealing with a third party supplier, each party should make every effort to keep its partner updated on progress. In respect of the Showcase Bus Route Agreements it will be necessary to
formulate a more formal agreement regarding commitments and delivery time-scales, in recognition of the large levels of investment required by each party.

Partnership Targets

The principle targets of the Agreement are:

1. To deliver a 2% year on year growth (representing an additional 110,000 passenger journeys pa) in bus passenger usage on the First bus network in Bath & North East Somerset. This equates to an 8% increase in bus passenger usage over the period of the Partnership Agreement (a total additional 450,000 passenger journeys). Note, this target relates to a similar DfT target included in the Ten Year Plan.
2. To operate 40% of the First bus fleet (operating in Bath & North East Somerset) with low floor fully accessible buses by mid 2006. Note, this target relates to a similar DfT target included in the ~Ten Year Plan.
3. Using reasonable endeavours achieve an average bus fieet age profile (operating in
Bath & North East Somerset) of less than 8 years by mid 2003 and to continue to invest further to achieve an average bus fleet age profile of less than 7 years by mid 2006. (Note, this target relates to a similar DfT target included in the Ten Year Plan and is subject to definition of the bus fieet operating in Bath & North East Somerset)
4. To achieve a 10% journey time saving during peak hours on all Showcase Bus Routes by mid 2006. [Note each Showcase Bus Route Agreement will include specific journey time saving targets, which may be in excess of 10% depending on the route circumstances].
5. To deliver service reliability, through the combination of comprehensive bus priority measures and robust scheduling, ensuring that 95% of all showcase bus route journeys fall within a tolerance of -1 minute to +5 minutes of the published timetable.

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6. To deliver an additional 40 new high quality bus shelters provided in Bath & North East Somerset by mid 2006. [This is over and above replacement of existing "life expired' bus shelters] .
7. To achieve a reduction in the number of assaults on Bus Staff reported per year of 25% by mid 2006.

A full list of 'Agreed Measurable Indicators' is included in Appendix 1. These indicators will
provide a baseline, which will be used to identify progress on meeting the above targets. Most of the indicators will be updated on an annual basis and some will be updated on a quarterly basis. This process will feed into the Joint Annual Review (referred to above) and provide an opportunity to take any corrective actions if needed.

Partners' Responsibilities

This partnership document is a statement of intention. Under this 'umbrella' agreement, early priority projects have been identified and are presented with their delivery programme. It is intended that further projects will be developed along these 'umbrella' principles for subsequent delivery. The areas of responsibilities of the Partners in the achievement of this goal are described below.

The Partners are committed to:

 Partners 1  Improved information services through stop information, call centres, information leaflets and real time information at specified locations on targeted routes and corridors.
 Partners 2  Improved service reliability through matching corridor and route infrastructure with improvements to scheduling and traffic management and control enforcement, within an ongoing regime of performance monitoring to identify and deal with problems.
 Partners 3  Improving the marketing of enhanced services including the use of joint launches of projects, corridor branding where appropriate and ongoing promotion of the services through information, public relations and advertising.
 Partners 4  Development of schemes that can be shown to be feasible and deliverable such that programmes and funding can be identified and committed. Such development may be facilitated through commissioning of Consultancy services for joint studies on behalf of the Partnership or Partnership members.
 Partners 5  Prioritisation and delivery of schemes that have been demonstrated as feasible and justified within the policy and commercial framework agreed by the Partnership.

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Bath & North East Somerset accepts responsibility for:

 B&NES1   Bus priority measures including the provision of bus lanes, priority access points, traffic signal priorities, bus stop design, development of further parking restrictions and management of parking enforcement and the development of traffic regulation orders as appropriate to deliver improvement in journey times and service reliability. [Target average speeds of (to be established - e.g. 15mph) should be sought as a guiding principle]
 B&NES2   lmprovements to roadside facilities including stops, associated street furniture and surfaces, improved access through pedestrian facility design and upgrades and security through improved lighting and CCTV where appropriate.
 B&NES3  Support the improvement of interchange facilities at key locations on the public · transport network including important stop locations, such as those in the central area, where interchange demand is high or can be promoted, to deliver network service enhancements and improvement in image and personal secu rity.
 B&NES4  Planned priority of road maintenance on Quality Partnership routes to protect the service levels on these key routes and co-ordination to minimise disruption. Advance notice of planned maintenance and other major road works, together with estimates of delay and temporary priority measures to ensure adherence to existing schedules and minimise disruption to public transport users. Development of the online 'Road Report':
 B&NES5  Ensure that sufficient winter highway maintenance, such as salting or gritting, is carried out on principal bus routes as a highest priority to maintain the robustness of schedules in such inclement weather.
 B&NES6  Provision of targeted improved information provision to include urban stopspecific information as well as general marketing of public transport as appropriate.
 B&NES7  Purchase, co-ordination and management of off-vehicle aspects of any realtime information systems including provision of bus-stop information systems, central control and communication/systems equipment and ongoing operation and maintenance of all off-vehicle equipment and operations.
 B&NES8  Continue preparations on introducing Decriminalisation of Parking Offences with the authority area; target introduction date is January 2003. Development and management of appropriate parking strategies recognising the links between on-street parking and bus operations, and between parking supply and modal choice. Parking policy and management (including enforcement strategies) will be developed within the overall policy context of promoting public transport within a sustainable development and economic framework.

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 B&NES9  Co-ordination of public consultation, including bus users, for both mandatory aspects such as Traffic Regulation Orders and for less formal exercises for gathering and disseminating information on the Partnership's plans for route and/or service enhancements.
 B&NES10  Applications for funding from third party sources including Central Government, European Union, etc.
 B&NES11  Commitment to the development of area-wide standards covering such issues as hours of operation of bus priority measures, kerb upstands, laybys and stop/shelter design.
 B&NES12 Direct Liaison with decriminalised parking units to enforce bus lane operation and bus stop clearways; commitment to investigation of emerging powers and technologies, including the use of cameras to enforce against offences of "violation of bus lanes use".
 B&NES13 Provision of appropriate contacts within Local Authority for issues relating to road works, Green Travel initiatives, vandalism and development of Local Transport Plan initiatives.
 B&NES14 Strategic development of the Concessionary Travel Scheme, including the enhancement of the scheme to pemrit free travel for B&NES pass holders aged
75 and over. Also to explore opportunities to integrate the scheme with
neighbouring authority schemes.
 B&NES15 Monitoring the operational reliability of Showcase Bus Routes through surveys on a periodic basis and disseminating results with First.
 B&NES16  Seek (subject to Member agreement) to lever in additional financial resources by negotiating with central government a local Public Service Agreement Target which is designed to assist the delivery of this Quality Partnership.


First accept responsibility for:

 First 1  Higher vehicle standards and further investment in new or newer vehicles, aimed at improving the quality of the services to passengers, including easy access low floor vehicles with improved accessibility.
 First 2  Improved service frequencies where justified by corridor improvements and potential demand
 First 3  Scheduling of services to maximise the benefits of route priorities and deliver journey time and reliability enhancements
 First 4  Extension of operating times where justified by potential demand

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 First 5  Consultation on route and service registration changes to minimise disruption and protect marketing and information provision investment, subject to material impact of third party competition
 First 6  Co-operation with the development of real time passenger information and provision, management and maintenance of on-vehicle and depot equipment and operations.
 First 7  Operation of an attractive bus station with high quality passenger transport information and passenger facilities, all being provided by the developers as part of the proposed Southgate redevelopment.
 First 8  Provision of high quality attractive and easy to use passenger information, network maps and other publicity reflecting route branding and quality partnership status of routes. Where quality partnership routes are involved the involvement of the authority will be recognised internally and extemally on vehicles and in publicity.
 First 9  Co-operation with Bath & North East Somerset in the provision of passenger information, including meeting obligations under Transport Act 2000.
 First 10  Development of ticketing and marketing initiatives to maximise the benefits of the Partnership in terms of bus travellers, including co-operation with through ticketing and cross-operator ticketing systems promoted under the Partnership Agreement.
 First 11   Provision of driver training to enhance the levels of service and customer care on Quality Partnership routes and corridors, including disability awareness and promotion of higher driving standards. Protection of this training investment through the use of dedicated driver teams for Quality Partnership services.
 First 12  Provision of service monitoring information to allow the ongoing management of the Quality Partnership schemes and development of mitigation and enhancements to these schemes as required (e.g. identification of delay hotspots and levels of service failure). Where services are monitored, First will ensure that mechanisms are in place to identify the cause of such problems so they can be addressed.
 First 13  Provision of a passenger charter clearly setting out the standards and conditions that passengers can expect from Quality Partnership services and how to pursue queries or problems as they arise.
 First 14   Participation in any public consultation exercises as deemed appropriate and agreed by the partners.
 First 15  First will offer appropriate partnership support for third party funding from souFces including Central Government, European Union, etc.

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 First 16  Co-operation on the development of the Concessionary Travel Scheme, including the enhancement of the scheme to permit free travel for pass holders aged 75 and over (subject to negotiations on fare reimbursement).



Early Projects and Commitments

Bath & North East Somerset Council's commitment to public transport is demonstrated by its financial investment both past and present.

During 2001/02/03 the Council invested over f500,000 in implementing and monitoring bus priority measures. A decision on the future of the Northgate Street priority Access Point is due to be made in September 2002.

In 2000/01 the Council implemented a 700 metre bus lane on London Road (A4 eastern corridor) with signal priorities, in conjunction with a supermarket developer. Following the initial experimental period this bus lane has now been made a permanent 24 hour bus lane scheme.

Monitoring the effects of these schemes in terms of journey time savings and also in terms of broader socio-economic indicators is regarded as a very important aspect and has provided the Council with a substantial database for use in development of transportation issues.

Other capital investment schemes implemented by the Council include the development of the Council's Urban Traffic Management & Control (UTMC) system, which has produced direct benefits for bus services:

- in 2001/02 the Council invested f230,000 in UTMC;
- in 200U03 a sum of f430,000 has been allocated.

In addition to the above, the Council has a specific bus infrastructure budget for bus stop and bus shelter improvements:

- in 2001/02 expenditure on bus infrastructure totalled f100,000;
- in 2002/03 the sum allocated is f~40,000.

Over the two year period the investment of approximately f1.5 million in capital schemes to enhance the operational environment for bus services.

This is also further bolstered by major revenue funding commitments:

- in 2001/02 the Council spent f1,118,000 in bus subsidies and concessionary travel schedules;

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- in 2002/03 the Council has a planned budget £1.246,000 for bus subsidy and concessionary travel (which is over and above the separate Rural Bus Subsidy Grant from central government of £204,000 pa).

In addition the Council is allocating further revenue expenditure in 2002/03 specifically to enhance the concessionary travel scheme and to provide free travel for local residents aged 75 and over.

First have invested heavily in vehicles operating within Bath & North East Somerset.

- In 200 1/02 First vehiclec apital expenditure came to £519,000 with the introduction of 8 low floor vehicles.
- This is being augmented with expenditure on 19 low floor vehicles across the authority area in 2002/3 worth £2,015,000.

The commitment of over £2.5 million over this two year period demonstrates First's willingness to invest in Bath & North East Somerset and work in partnership with the Council to ensure the delivery of a whole spectrum of public transport improvements

 signed:  signed:
 date:  date:
 name:  name:
 on behalf of:Bath & North East
                Somerset Council
on behalf of: First



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Trams for Bath's comments on this paper

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