Council runs coaches to ‘up’ the competition

Somerset County Council has decided to run coaches on school services to “help address a lack of competition in the market and reduce costs”.

The local authority is operating a fleet of five Euro VI coaches. It decided to run the vehicles following the loss of several large operators in its area in recent years. The council notes that the price for daily school contracts had risen significantly, particularly in the Sedgemoor area. By leasing the 59-seat coaches and running the routes in-house, Somerset County Council hopes to inject competition back into the market, improve sustainability and reduce costs back to what it describes as a more reasonable level. The coaches will also be available for private hire outside of school transport times.

Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “It is fantastic that local children will be travelling to school on these low emission, more environmentally friendly vehicles, contributing to the Council’s commitments on climate change. We work with a number of operators across the county to provide a safe and reliable bus network while ensuring the best value for taxpayers. It was clear that running these particular routes ourselves was the way to achieve best value.”

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