The publication this morning (Wednesday) of the long-awaited Transport Infrastructure Task Force (TITF) report sets out recommendations for bus services on the Isle of Wight.
As the main commercial bus operator on the Island, Southern Vectis has a monopoly, handling over 7m passenger journeys each year and providing “one of the most comprehensive bus services in the country”.
The Quality Transport Partnership considered that “Southern Vectis run a good operation on the Island which is both reliable and regular”. Adding that it “is recognised as one of the highest performing rural service providers”.
A number of recommendations have come out of the report:
- Southern Vectis provides a good service and the Council should ensure services are continued and that opportunities to enhance community services are fully explored.
- Investigate opportunities for improved ticketing initiatives for the occasional bus users.
- The Council with Southern Vectis and the Isle of Wight College should investigate what improvements can be made to student access to transport. This could be linked to projects being delivered through existing sustainable transport programmes.
- Next stop announcements and Wi-Fi on buses should be rolled out across all scheduled services.
- Assess the feasibility of corridor improvements for bus services, including investigating the introduction of bus lanes where achievable.
- Whilst the investment strategy of Southern Vectis should be recognised and noted, it is a rate of investment that is unlikely to be sustainable in the longer term and needs to be monitored.
Payments to Southern Vectis
The report reveal that Southern Vectis receives two payments from Isle of Wight Council.
The first is to run buses and coaches for home-to-school transport, and was awarded following an open competitive tendering process. The operation is separate to the local bus network.
The second payment is reimbursement for the fare foregone of England National Concessionary Travel Scheme card holders (older and disabled people), as the card holders themselves receive free travel.
Image: © Southern Vectis