• Transport for Buckinghamshire

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  • Future of public transport under the microscope A two-day inquiry hearing into public transport provision in Buckinghamshire has heard evidence from more than 30 contributors representing a wide cross-section of the community.

    The hearings (on Thursday and Friday, July 24, 25) are a key part of the County Council's cross-party Environment, Transport and Locality Service Select Committee's examination gauging aspirations for public transport towards 2020 and beyond.

    Set against the background of continuing public sector austerity which is putting pressure on budgets, the inquiry aims to enable the County Council to match its future support for public transport more efficiently and effectively to the needs of communities.

    Select Committee Chairman Warren Whyte explained how the hearings would help the inquiry examine what public transport needs to look like in the future.

    'The evidence given over these two days will help us to understand what's there at the moment, how people's needs are being met, and how those needs are changing and likely to change over the next five years and longer,' said Mr Whyte.

    'It's emerging from the evidence that Buckinghamshire has a complex mixture of public transport – much more than we appreciated,' he said.

    'There's a huge amount of community-led activity, and we greatly appreciate volunteer effort across the county. However, we're beginning to see gaps that need to be filled, and these appear to be related to age – both young and old – and to mobility.

    'And it's very clear the difference between town needs and rural needs rules out one-size-fits-all solutions,' he said.

    The Select Committee will examine the two days of evidence during the coming weeks to decide where more information is needed, and which groups and individuals still need to contribute.

    'Our aim is to be in a stronger position to target support much more effectively to ensure a sustainable and affordable public transport network in a time of increasing financial constraint,' said Mr Whyte.

    'We need to answer the big question about our current public transport support: "If we were to start all over again, would it look like this?".'
  • Grass cutting - how it's done in Stewkley The County Council is holding discussions with parish and town councils across Buckinghamshire about the possibility of them taking on a number of village maintenance tasks, as a devolved service from the Council.

    A number of individual towns and parishes have already taken on self-delivery of such services in their own community. Stewkley is a good example of the benefits that devolution of services can bring.

    In 2013, Stewkley was used as a pilot for a new way of delivering some local services. The Stewkley Enterprise Agency was set up; a not-for-profit social enterprise, which enabled the parish to provide both local employment and an enhanced quality of service for the villagers. The service they provide includes, grass cutting and strimming, minor hedge cutting, weed spraying and road sign cleaning.

    People, young and old from the community directly benefit from the experience they have gained, and are also paid employees through the scheme.

    Each employee works approximately 80 to 100 hours a year, and their work ranges from carrying out the actual maintenance work through to administration, health and safety assessments, and dealing with customer feedback. The team enjoy their work and take in pride keeping their village in tip top condition.

    Five parishes have just signed up to become a cluster with Stewkley, meaning that each village will now have services provided in the same way by the social enterprise. This means that each of these villages will now receive the same benefits. Swanbourne, Mursley, Drayton Parslow, Stewkley and Stoke Hammond will all now benefit from the new arrangement.

    In the south of the county, a similar agreement has been made with Amersham Town Council for parishes in the area to arrange for services to be carried out on their behalf. Gerrards Cross, Chenies, Little Missenden and Stoke Mandeville Parish Councils benefit from grass cutting, vegetation clearance, tree maintenance and graffiti removal as part of this arrangement.

    Ruth Vigor-Hedderly, Cabinet Member for Transportation said: “Devolving services to the local community is a great opportunity for parishes and clusters of local communities.

    "The way that Stewkley has set up their arrangement, and the Amersham agreement as well, are such good examples to other parishes who are considering joining in with the scheme."

    The County Council has delivered a series of conferences in order for all parishes to have the opportunity to ask questions about the proposals.

    The next stage of the devolution project will see more clusters of Parishes join together for greater flexibility and the benefits of collaboratively working together that this will bring.
  • Family days out are a summer bus ride away Hop on a bus with the family, have a great day out, and be one less car on the roads.

    Ruth Vigor-Hedderly, County Council Cabinet Member for Transport, is encouraging families to 'get out there' during the school holidays and explore Buckinghamshire's beautiful countryside and town attractions by bus.

    It's all part of Ruth's team's continuing campaign to promote greener travel and reduce congestion on the roads. Many bus operators offer good value group or family day tickets, and during the school holiday several attractions will be offering discounts to bus passengers producing a valid ticket when they visit or book.

    Ruth said: 'We've lots of routes in Buckinghamshire and many of them serve great places to visit: like Burnham Beeches, Hughenden Manor, Waddesdon Manor, not to mention walks in the Chilterns. The bus is a wonderful way to explore the county.'

    Attractions offering summer holiday discounts to bus passengers from July 23 to September 3 include:
    Swan Pool, Buckingham: Fitness membership sign up, with no contract or joining fee.
    Aqua Vale, Aylesbury: Free upgrade from a small to a large slush iced drink in the cafe. Fitness membership sign up, with no contract or joining fee.
    Aylesbury Waterside Theatre: £5 off tickets for What the Ladybird Heard.
    Hughenden Manor: £1 off entry fee.
    Roald Dahl Children's Gallery, Aylesbury: 2 for 1 on entry, one free child with every full paying adult.
    Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Great Missenden: 2 for 1 on entry.

    For full offer details and inspiration about summer visits by bus please see the 'Great days out by bus' page www.buckscc.gov.uk/travelinfo
    which contains information about bus routes. Or visit www.travelinesoutheast.org.uk to plan a journey.

    Buckinghamshire County Council continues to work in partnership with bus companies to help increase passenger numbers, promoting a greener form of travel and reducing congestion.

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