Paul Robson - HBC Transport Consultant 2007-13 described Hartlepool's Integrated Transport Unit founded in 2008 and bringing together all aspects of passenger transport, highways & traffic, & management of the HBC transport fleet. They operated their own fleet of yellow school buses and encouraged commercial bus services, but with subsidies no longer available it was on a 'use it or lose it' basis. There was also a Travel Club facility - able to advise on the best option for specific transport needs.
He also described the work of the Association of Transport Coordinators. The government funding regime favours PTE's over smaller & shire authorities, it being very difficult for the latter to get funding for significant public transport schemes. Nexus were looking into a Quality Contract with commercial operators which would be similar to the London Passenger Transport Board, specifying routes and fares. This was being watched with interest. With operators not being very cooperative it was thus difficult to introduce real time bus stop information. Bob Whitehouse (Bishop Line Partnership) echoed how it was impossible to get bus/rail integration in the present climate. Bus operators were interested in circuitous bus routes between main destinations rather than feeding into faster rail services.
Some discussion ensued on the 'Rail North' strategy being lead by the Manchester & Yorkshire authorities. North East authorities were putting together a wish list for the next rail franchise, but government hadn't yet
indicated what money would be available. It was felt that with proposed McNulty cuts, the government was trying to get Local Authorities to give out the bad news.