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A message to our key contact representatives - 7th September 2021

Documents referenced in Lee's letter

Option 24/7 Master Document: (here) (Updated 24th Sept 2021)
Schemes chosen for improvement with finance in the current financial year: (here) and (here)
Draft Bus Service Improvement Plan: (here)

Added 11 Oct 2021 - BSIP as submitted to Wiltshire Cabinet and supporting documents including survey output via http://option247.uk/bbb_202110.html


Dear All,

Many thanks again to you all for agreeing to become Option 24/7 Key Contact Representatives. From time to time we will send you emails on a group basis when there is important information to relay, or important tasks for us collectively to perform. This is the first such email.

Firstly, many of you will have been involved in putting forward bus service proposals to utilise the £671k that Wiltshire Council were awarded from the DfT Subsidised Bus Service Fund in February 2020. Please find attached a 3-page list of such proposals that have been chosen by the Wiltshire Council Public Transport Unit to be funded by a mixture of Subsidised Bus Service Fund and Section 106 funding, and is being recommended by them for Cabinet approval. Obviously, some of you will be pleased to see that your proposal has been included on the list, while some of you will be disappointed that your proposal has not. However, it is important to note that this approved proposal list is just the "starter" before the "main course" of the Bus Back Better Strategy funding proper, and that all bus service proposals that were originally put forward that didn't make the cut this time - along with any proposals that we subsequently put forward - will be rolled over for consideration in that Bus Back Better Strategy process going forward. Therefore, this list should be seen as merely the first round of improvements in an evolving and ongoing process of bus service improvements.

The 3-page list also includes a list of potential enhancements to the mix of conventional and demand responsive transport bus services in the Pewsey Vale area that were submitted as part of Wiltshire Council's successful bid for £1.2 million of funding from the DfT Rural Mobility Fund. However, Wiltshire Council have given a commitment that that the design and development of the enhancements that are actually introduced will be strongly influenced by the local community, and we will obviously expect and encourage them to honour that commitment in full.

The 3-page list forms part of a wider 19-page report that details the work that Wiltshire Council has done so far to develop an overall county-wide bus strategy, and lays out their thoughts as to how that strategy might develop in future. This report is also attached for your perusal.

In addition to this, we have now had three Bus Back Better Strategy meetings with Wiltshire Council so far, and we have reached an agreement that would see Option 24/7 act as a "bridge" between Wiltshire Council, and current or potential bus users in the community areas that Wiltshire bus routes serve.

The time has now come for us to collectively as a team formally and directly input into and help shape the Wiltshire Bus Back Better process. Initially we will do this first through direct input between now and the end of October 2021 into the Bus Service Improvement Plan, which mainly consists of a set of outline key ambitions and objectives for what we want to achieve. Then we will provide direct input between November 2021 and March 2022 into the Enhanced Partnership Plan, which will contain the real nitty-gritty detail of the bus service timetables, fares, infrastructure etc that we would like to see introduced.

Please find attached the Draft Wiltshire Bus Service Improvement Plan in outline form. What we would like you all to do is to look at each of the proposed ambitions, interventions and objectives contained within it, and provide us with some thoughts and feedback on the following via return email:

- Which of the proposed ambitions, interventions and objectives you agree with in regard to the needs of your area

- Which of the proposed ambitions, interventions and objectives you disagree with in regard to the needs of your area

- Which of the proposed ambitions, interventions and objectives could be altered or expanded to better reflect the needs of your area

- Whether there are additional ambitions, interventions and objectives not currently included in the draft that could better reflect the needs of your area

We have the agreement of Wiltshire Council to share the attached documents as widely as we wish to whomsoever we wish. Please do feel free to do exactly that in order to gain the widest possible insight from within your communities to inform your replies. We very much look forward to receiving them.

Best Regards
Lee Fletcher
Option 24/7
http://option247.uk/