Rural bus service first in decades to operate without IWC funding say Southern Vectis

Southern Vectis say this is the first time in decades that a bus service for the rural communities they serve has been operated without local authority funding and that the current timetable for route 6 is run entirely on a commercial basis.

Southern Vectis Bus

Leader of the Isle of Wight council, Dave Stewart, yesterday issued a press release challenging Southern Vectis over their decision for route 6 to remain on a winter timetable throughout the year.

He argued that sufficient consultation had not been carried with the council or local communities about the decision and it was stated that “He expects them to rethink this approach”.

The Conservative-Alliance administration’s budget proposal (issued this week) is hoping to negotiate a £350,000 saving on home to school transport over the next three years.

Southern Vectis: “Virtually no change in customer numbers”
In response, the general manager at Southern Vectis told OnTheWight that they have “experienced virtually no change in customer numbers” and would therefore continue with the winter timetable throughout the year for the route that serves Ventnor, Niton, Chale, Chillerton and Newport.

Richard Tyldsley, Southern Vectis general manager said,

“Our intention is to continue operating our Winter service throughout the whole year, as we have experienced virtually no change in customer numbers. The timetable has also been working well as far as reliability is concerned since our changes.

“We are proud of the work our team carries out, providing a comprehensive network of services across the island. And we are committed to continuing with the route 6 service.

“In order to do this, we continuously monitor the volume of passenger journeys on this route. Currently, customer numbers don’t allow us to provide an hourly bus because the same number of people are travelling on our two hourly timetable.”

IWC withdrew funding in 2015
He went on to add,

“When Isle of Wight Council took the decision to withdraw all funding for route 6 in late 2015, we reviewed the entire operation and retained all journeys that covered our direct operating costs.

“The current timetable is run entirely on a commercial basis – the first time in decades that a bus service for the rural communities we serve has been operated without local authority funding.

“We will continue to monitor customer numbers, and liaise with Isle of Wight Council, to provide the best possible service we are able to for customers along this route.”

Work closely with the IWC
Ed Wills, Southern Vectis operations director, added,

“We work in close partnership with the council and will continue to do so on the innovative community bus partnership which has helped to protect a number of other services and allows us to provide an extremely comprehensive network.”

Image: Eastliegh Bus Man under CC BY 2.0

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2 Comments on "Rural bus service first in decades to operate without IWC funding say Southern Vectis"

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Jon Young
Mr Tyldsley says: “The current timetable is run entirely on a commercial basis — the first time in decades that a bus service for the rural communities we serve has been operated without local authority funding.” He is wrong. Three parish councils along Route 6 – Chale, Chillerton & Gatcombe and Niton & Whitwell – between them pay Southern Vectis £185 per day to maintain a Sunday… Read more »
tiki
Why should they be subsidised? Southern Vectis has a monopoly on the island and holds the island to ransom – it sucks. Last time I tried to get a bus to Newchurch there was one heading to Newchurch in the morning and one coming back in the evening, maybe it’s changed but it put me off ever choosing to take the bus over a car. Surely Southern… Read more »