New Lincolnshire County Council-owned firm picks up the slack for specialist buses

Lincolnshire County Council has created a new company called TransportConnect Ltd in a bid to continue specialist passenger transport services in the county.

The new company will take over from Essential Fleet Services, which announced in January that it would be withdrawing from the passenger transport market.

Essential Fleet Services had previously operated over £3.5 million worth of LCC contracts covering a range of transport for special educational needs, adult care and CallConnect services.

LCC managed to secure contracts for around 30 of the 50 services that this impacted. The remaining contracts will now be awarded to LCC owned and controlled TransportConnect Ltd.

The company also provides the capacity to take on others contracts where the commercial market fails to deliver cost effective or affordable options.

TransportConnect Ltd will initially concentrate its focus on providing services in the south of the county where the need is most acute.

It is intended that the relevant Essential Fleet Services staff will transfer across to the new company under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) regulations and all parties will continue to work together to ensure a smooth transition and no disruption for service users.

Richard Davies, executive councillor for Highways and Transport at Lincolnshire Council Council

Richard Davies, executive councillor for Highways and Transport at Lincolnshire Council Council

Councillor Richard Davies, Executive Member for Highways and Transport, said: “We realise these services are vital to those who use them, so it is important to find affordable solutions which will help us to maintain them.

“This new approach will provide additional capacity into what was already a very limited market prior to the withdrawal of Essential. The council have found it increasingly difficult to get contractors to cover contracts particularly those requiring wheelchair accessible vehicles and transport crews trained to convey passengers with additional needs.”

It is anticipated that TransportConnect Limited will begin running the displaced services later this year, with Essential continuing to provide them in the interim.

The 20 Essential Fleet Services contracts to be transferred are:

SEN Transport (7)

  • 0643T – Boston – Spalding Priory School
  • 0644T – Sutterton – Spalding Priory School
  • 10505 – Barkston – Grantham Sandon School
  • 10522 – Grantham Area – Grantham Ambergate School
  • 8724- Stamford – Bourne Willoughby
  • 9352 – Boston – Horncastle St Lawrence School
  • 9526 – Grantham Rural – Spalding Priory School

Social Care Transport (2)

  • B190 – Pinchbeck – Boston Scott House
  • S1027 Deeping St James – Stamford Day Centre

CallConnect (11)

  • 4R Stamford
  • 37S South Holland
  • 5C Coningsby
  • 1K Kesteven
  • 15B Bourne
  • 16S Spalding
  • 1G Grantham
  • 5B Boston
  • 1CC Grantham
  • 505H Holbeach
  • 505L Long Sutton