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TTS Minister's statement on the Connex Bus Contract

04 June 2008

Statement Presented To The States On 3rd June 2008 By The Minister For Transport And Technical Services, Deputy Guy de Faye, Concerning The Connex Bus Contract.

"In answers to previous questions, I have assured the House that, as soon as I have made a decision regarding the Connex bus contract, I would advise members in the first instance.

Yesterday I signed a Ministerial decision agreeing to extend both the contracts currently held by Connex for the scheduled and the schools/leisure services as allowed for in the original contracts. I have made this decision for a number of reasons:

  1. The extension of the contract provides a positive financial return to the States and tangible benefits to the travelling public.
  2. Extending the contracts will allow further time to assess the impact of integrating the network and defining the detail of the service to be retendered for 2012.
  3. The savings accruing will be reinvested in the bus service or utilised to provide contractual and technical support in preparation for the contract award in 2012.
  4. Connex’s track record speaks for itself:
  • Passengers numbers have increased by 19% since the first year of the contract – Connex carried just short of 3 million passengers in their 5th year of operation.
  • Fare revenue has increased 30% over the contract.
  • Connex won the Jersey Enterprise Award for Business of the Year in 2007, as well as winning the “Large Business” category.
The agreement specifically provides the following: 
  1. A £300,000 reduction on the contract price over the 3 year extension period. 
  2. The scheduling of the ‘shadow timetable’ which refers to the relief buses currently running at peak times. This will have the effect of adding to the number of timetabled services and will encourage ridership. 
  3. An additional service on the eastern commuter route during both morning and afternoon peak periods. 
  4. Further use of empty school buses returning to Town, to enhance commuter services. 
  5. Continuing investment in new vehicles to upgrade the current fleet ahead of time and provide increased capacity. 
  6. A commitment to examine use of hybrid vehicles and also the use of double deckers on appropriate routes
I firmly believe that this decision is the right one for the Island and especially for the public – both those travelling now and those that wish to take advantage of the progressively improving bus transport system.

In addition to extending the contract, I have also agreed a settlement to the outstanding shift allowance issue. This dispute dates back to 2002 when the then Committee paid Connex a sum of £186,000 to cover increased costs following the previous operator’s decision to introduce a shift allowance to its staff. The subsequent Committee of Enquiry (R58/2005) requested the then Committee to “take immediate action to determine whether the £186,000 payment in respect of the shift allowance . . . . . . can be recovered, either from Connex or from any other person. “

Following legal advice, TTS and Connex agreed to progress negotiations to reach a settlement in this regard thus avoiding the potentially high legal costs involved in the litigation route. Connex have now agreed to pay TTS £200,000 in full and final settlement of this claim.

In conclusion, I would remind Members that the original contract allowed for a maximum 3 year extension and that a new contract for the complete integrated public, leisure and schools network will be tendered in order to be operational in 2012. I will extend the scope of the contract so that this larger public transport package will have the potential benefit of being able to attract a wider group of local, national and international companies to the tender process, which can only be in the best interest of the Island in respect of securing the best deal for the future."
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