DELIVERING A SUSTAINABLE AND INTEGRATED BUS NETWORK IN A DE-REGULATED ENVIRONMENT: A COMPARITIVE STUDY OF A HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTE AND PHARAMCEUTICAL COMPANY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM



DELIVERING A SUSTAINABLE AND INTEGRATED BUS NETWORK IN A DE-REGULATED ENVIRONMENT: A COMPARITIVE STUDY OF A HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTE AND PHARAMCEUTICAL COMPANY IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

Authors

Scott Copsey, University Of Hertfordshire, Dr Richard Southern, University Of Hertfordshire, Philip Waters, University Of Hertfordshire

Description

This paper provides a comparative evaluation of how two large organisations (the University of Hertfordshire based in Hatfield, and a Pharmaceutical Company, Pfizer, based in Sandwich, Kent) bucked this trend and proactively sought to manage bus operations serving them that led to a reworking of the public transport infrastructure within their respective regions.

Abstract

1.0 Introduction
The United Kingdom Transport Act (1985) provided the framework for bus deregulation (privatisation) that resulted in the breakup of the National Bus Company outside of London. Under this new environment, the bus network was split into multiple commercial operations. Local passenger Transport Authorities provided some limited statutory coordination, mainly acting as a provider of last resort for socially necessary routes that were not commercially viable. This de-regulated approach created variable, inconsistent and un-integrated service provision throughout the UK, with large bus operators dominating regions and cities. Effectively operating monopolies, these large companies provided services that suited their own priorities, not those of the public.

This paper provides a comparative evaluation of how two large organisations (the University of Hertfordshire based in Hatfield, and a Pharmaceutical Company, Pfizer, based in Sandwich, Kent) bucked this trend and proactively sought to manage bus operations serving them that led to a reworking of the public transport infrastructure within their respective regions.

2.0 Case Studies
2.1 University of Hertfordshire: Hatfield
The University established its own bus company in 1992 (rebranded UNO in 2005), making use of the powers set out in the Transport Act (1985). At the time, the incumbent operators were unwilling to work in partnership with the University and were deemed ultimately too expensive and unable to meet the University’s needs. The key aspect of the University Travel Plan was that it provided public transport links to and from the University’s campuses. This led to a reduction in employee car use of 15 per cent between 2003-11. This was at a time of major expansion of the University with new courses such as nursing. The bus network was required to move students between its campuses and local hospitals, where applied training took place. The existing intercampus service was expanded into what has become a 100 vehicle operation serving Hatfield and the surrounding region. UNO has now developed an area-wide travel planning solution, providing services that meet the needs of the University, other organisations and the wider community, the latter now making up over 60 per cent of all passengers.

2.2 Pfizer: Sandwich, Kent
Pfizer’s intra-organisational Travel Plan for its site in Sandwich was launched in 1998. Between then and 2001, Pfizer achieved a 20 per cent reduction in car use. In 2001 a scheme was introduced whereby employees choosing not to commute by car received £2 a day payment. The company also introduced a car share database and paid for eight miles of local cycle routes. Other travel based interventions included improving cycle storage and changing rooms on site, introducing discounts on public transport and the provision of subsidised Pfizer contract buses for their employees to serve their site in Sandwich. Eight routes, served by 18 vehicles, including a free-to-use shuttle to Sandwich train station and town centre, were provided for employees. There was some limited pump priming on one public bus route serving the local community. The contract services were not available for use by the general public but a substantial impact on local travel was seen in the reduction of car use in the local community.

The organisation’s Travel Plan interventions were seen as an exemplar within the UK at this time, and pre-dated the Smarter Choices Agenda, that was to emerge in the field of local travel planning after 2003. However, the majority of interventions implemented as part its Travel Plan were not available to the wider community, as was the case with the University.

3.0 Conclusions
The two case studies provide contrasting examples of attempts to re-organise local bus service provision from both an intra-organisational and area-wide perspective. This paper evaluates their overall merit and successes in terms of internal drivers and goals, but also assesses the overall impact on community travel. Pfizer successfully reduced the impact of its transport-based activities to the local community, but the wider community did not benefit directly from the travel interventions. Conversely, the University’s approach has proved a sustainable long-term solution that has served the needs of the University and its wider community, which can be replicated elsewhere. Pfizer had developed well renowned travel interventions as part of a Travel Plan, but ultimately failed to establish these to the benefit of the wider community. By comparison, the University has permanently influenced and indeed changed the local bus network through its UNO bus operation by developing an area wide solution to the benefit of itself and wider community. These crucial differences and the lessons learned need to be fully explored.

Publisher

Association for European Transport