It looks like a lower specification for park and ride services in York will apply soon.
The Council failed to find any tenderers for a new contract offered earlier in the year.Now they seem to set to compromise on the type of vehicle that will be allowed and perhaps fare levels and frequencies.
The earlier failure by the industry to step up to the mark prompted talk of cartels and accusations of insider knowledge of the Councils “bottom line”
The Council in a statement today said,
Following dialogue with a number of bus companies which helped to better understand any issues which prevented them from submitting a viable bid for the Park & Ride contract earlier this year, City of York Council is confident that a new operator for the service will be now secured.
It’s expected that a new tendering exercise to secure an operator for the Park & Ride service from February 2018 will start shortly after the decision by the Executive (Wednesday 7 December).
In the interim, the council has negotiated a 12 month extension to the current contract with First York, whose contract expires at the end of January 2017. This will ensure that residents and visitors will continue to benefit from a high quality Park & Ride service until a new operator is in place.
As a result of the review, alterations to a number of the key specification areas have been considered and drawn together into these three main options:
Option 1 – providing maximum flexibility for the bidder to tailor the Park & Ride network. For example, the operator would determine the level of service and fares to be charged.
Option 2 (the recommended option) – providing a level of flexibility for bidders whilst retaining council control and influence in a number of key areas. The service specification would identify the boundaries for fares and service frequencies but would allow greater flexibility in other areas such as vehicle type.
Option 3 – providing a level of service similar to the unsuccessful tender earlier in 2016. It retains maximum council control of the Park & Ride service in all areas except fares.
Executive Members will be asked to consider all of the options at a public meeting on 7 December. Option three is considered the least likely option to secure a compliant bid from the market. This is due to the lack of flexibility given to the bidders and the financial expectations placed upon them. However, under options one or two, compliant bids could be expected and the scoring of tenders would include an assessment of the quality of the service proposed by the operator including the proportion of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) proposed within the bid.
Executive takes place on Wednesday 7 December from 5.30pm at West Offices and is open to members of the public or is available to watch live online at www.york.gov.uk/webcasts