MCL’s Project ExperienceConcessionary Travel, Social Research, Transport & Local Planning, Youth Travel Revenue allocation / apportionment, Smart Cards, Bus Network Reviews, Fares and Ticketing, Transport Advice
MCL have extensive experience in the field of concessionary travel ranging from conventional consultancy studies and research projects to the ongoing involvement with a number of major schemes as administrators and/or technical advisers. The following summarises past and current work undertaken by MCL in this field.
Assisting with the transition of responsibility for Concessions to upper tier Authorities and the implementation of revised DfT reimbursement Guidance
Various County and Unitary Councils
On the introduction of the latest method of reimbursing bus operators with responsibility being transferred to County and Unitary Authorities in 2011, MCL provided advice on the development of schemes, cost estimates, discretionary options, etc. Negotiations with Bus Operators and the implementation and Project Management of Changes were an integral part of this.
Overall Administration of Concessionary Travel Schemes
Various Authorities (ongoing)
MCL continues to administer ENCTS Schemes for around one third of Shire England, using the current DfT Guidance and Calculator in most cases, but also advising on and assisting with negotiation of Fixed Pot Schemes and individual fixed payments to operators in a number of cases. MCL also advises on the practicalities and likely cost of changing local discretions such as time of travel, discretionary services.
Assessment of Additional Capacity Cost (PVR) Claims
Various Authorities (ongoing)
Development of claim assessment methods and the evaluation of various claims made by bus operators for additional capacity (Additional Peak Vehicle Requirement) costs. Including consultation with operators and negotiation of settlements on behalf of authorities.
Technical Support to National Judicial Review case over Reimbursement Issues
Various Authorities (2009)
Responsible for technical input and briefing of the legal team representing TCAs in the Judicial Review case brought by Stagecoach and Go-Ahead against the Secretary of State for Transport over the principles of reimbursement. A successful outcome was secured by the DfT and the TCAs as a result of this case.
Management of Appeals against Concessionary Travel Reimbursement Arrangements, Calculator challenges and other disputes
Various Authorities (2006 to date)
Assessment of appeals, challenges to scheme arrangements and other disputes cases. Preparation of technical arguments, support in negotiation/mediation processes, and where necessary the briefing of legal partners, administration of the appeal process on behalf of the TCAs, review of determination and any follow up.
Travel For Young People
Building initially on MCL’s research capabilities, the company has developed a strong capability in travel planning and the assessment of travel concession schemes for young people. Recent Project experience includes:
Kent County Council (ongoing)
Scoping study to evaluate the costs and options for providing free travel for young people. Implementation of initial pilot scheme, ongoing involvement in management and development thereof, leading to a commitment to a Countywide scheme encompassing school age children, looked-after children and recent care-leavers. Despite the challenging financial climate, these arrangements continue with MCL’s support, with separate provisions for 11-16 and 16-19 age ranges.
Medway Council (ongoing)
Assisting with design, development and implementation of a morning peak period half fare scheme for year 7 – 11 students throughout Medway. Administration of the scheme once implemented.
Hertfordshire County Council (ongoing)
Reviewing the half-fare SaverCard scheme for 11-19 year olds throughout Hertfordshire, including data collection, development of reimbursement arrangements and ongoing administration once implemented. Assisting with the transition to smartcards and ongoing data analysis and scheme administration has followed.
Revenue Allocation / Apportionment
Suffolk Taxi Voucher Scheme (ongoing)
MCL advised on the set-up, and continues to administer, the Suffolk Taxi Voucher Scheme. This provides qualifying Suffolk residents who are too disabled to travel by bus, or live too far from a bus service, with free taxi vouchers.
Strathclyde Passenger Transport ZoneCard (ongoing)
MCL advises on and calculates reimbursement to transport operators participating in this multi-modal scheme.
Suffolk Endeavour (ongoing)
Working closely with Euclid and Unicard, MCL undertakes the revenue apportionment of this multi-operator smart ticketing scheme to participating bus operators who accept the e-purse.
Kent Connected (ongoing)
Working closely with Euclid and Unicard, MCL undertakes the revenue apportionment of this multi-operator smart ticketing scheme to participating bus operators who accept the e-purse and other products.
MCL maintains a strong interest in the deployment of smart ticketing and pass technology linked to systems development in connection with its management services activities. This is a fast-moving area of activity, which we monitor and contribute to through membership of and work with organisations such as Smartex (Transport Card Forum) and by working closely with our technology partner Euclid.
Bus Network Reviews
MCL’s experienced team specialise in reviewing bus networks, urban or rural. If ticket machine data is available, we will produce clear charts to support our findings on each route. We can analyse commercial networks or tendered portfolios for both operators and local authorities. We can analyse the available data, research new opportunities and formulate proposals which are presented in a clear and concise way. We can also assist with implementation, if required and also set up simple route costing and revenue trend spreadsheets to monitor the successful network after introduction.
We have recently undertaken a full review for a local authority owned bus operation from data gathering through to post-implementation review.
Fares And Ticketing
MCL have experience of ETM programming (on the Ticketer system) and extensive knowledge of the use of ETM data from most systems, old and new.
We can advise on fare scales including the simplification of current systems and costed options for the future.
We recently worked with a local authority to introduce a multi-operator area ticket scheme from data gathering, bench marking and negotiation and consultation with a range of operators, large and small.
MCL has worked with several bus operators to implement route costing systems and can produce and audit BSOG claims.
MCL are extremely proficient at analysing ETM data and presenting clear reports and solutions.
MCL’s diverse range of transport experience allows us to give sound, well-researched and knowledgeable advice on a range of topics.
We specialise in concessionary fares and can give valuable insight to new or existing schemes at a strategic or detailed level, covering schemes for the elderly and disabled or for young people. We can benchmark existing schemes on a one-off basis against the 14 areas where we administer arrangements and advise on how they meet DfT guidelines.
We can also offer wider transport advice to authorities and to operators. Recently, examples have been:
- we have provided support for a local authority on the features and provisions of the 2017 Bus Services Act.
- We also supported an authority in 2020 in producing three expressions of interest for DfT’s Rural Mobility Fund for rural DRT schemes.
- MCL also used their in-depth experience of quality bus services to assist with the production of the specification and procurement of a bus rapid transit operator and contributed to the development of the scheme and its infrastructure.
- When a significant bus company intended to withdraw from local bus services, we produced a report into the viability of the network, recommended options for replacement services and helped with implementation of a new network.