Jason Salter (Head of Service – Passenger Transport) will give an update on behalf of the Passenger Transport Team at the meeting.
The number of pupils who are not receiving home to school transport who are entitled is now zero, in the context of supply. This doesn’t however mean that the supply issue has been resolved, as taxis from out of county are being used more prevalently, or we are using parents in an increased capacity. The number of licensed taxi drivers remains at a constant, which is nowhere near where it needs to be to manage the growth in this area.
Due to the taxi market not growing in sufficient capacity, the decision has been made by the Passenger Transport Unit to lease vehicles and employ drivers directly in order to meet the growth. As at 6 March 2023, there are currently nine vehicles deployed on home to school transport either owned or leased by Wiltshire Council. Eight of those have been previously deployed through Larkrise school for many years, with one additional vehicle now being used into Silverwood, Rowde. By the end of March 2023, it is expected that a further eight vehicles could be deployed, dependent upon the speed of which drivers receive suitable clearances. Further work in the form of a business case will be completed to determine how many more vehicles and drivers will be required to be supplied by Wiltshire Council to meet the appropriate demand. The market will continue to be tested in this area, through regular procurement, as it is not the desire for Wiltshire Council to provide its own services in this area, it is doing so because the market is unable to support the growth in demand.
1. That the Committee note the update on behalf of the Passenger Transport Team.
2. That the Committee receive an update following the meeting on the following:
i) The planned use of Council vehicles outside of the “school run” provision
ii) The anticipated shortfall for new pupils transport requirements from September 2023.