NEWSFLASH: Council reopens search for new operator for busy Melton bus route

A Centrebus 14 service bus turns out of Windsor Street, Melton EMN-180614-142632001
A Centrebus 14 service bus turns out of Windsor Street, Melton EMN-180614-142632001
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The search for a new company to run bus services between Melton and Oakham has been reopened because the only previous bid would have seen the taxpayer stumping up more than five times more to keep it going.

Rutland County Council announced today (Thursday) it was carrying out further procurement work for the RF1 route, which runs from Melton to Corby via Oakham.

Centrebus told the authority in March that it would stop operating the service from next Friday because it was no longer cost effective.

Councillors agreed at a cabinet meeting to approve new expenditure of £220,000 to subsidise the service following a tender process where the only firm bid to take it over was made by Stagecoach Midlands.

The new contract would have cost the council £270,840 a year compared to the current one of £50,392 so officers decided to look at alternative options.

A new tender process has now been launched and Centrebus, which has since indicated it would like to continue the service, will now keep running buses on the route until a new operator is appointed.

Steve Ingram, the council’s strategic director for places, said: “The most important thing remains the continued operation of the RF1 service for the benefit of the many passengers who rely on it.

“However, the local authority also has a duty to provide value for money and safeguard public resources, particularly in light of the substantial figures that are potentially involved.

“As a result, the decision has been taken to extend the procurement process for RF1 while ensuring measures are in place to continue meeting the needs of service users.”

The extended tender process for RF1, which carried 120,000 passengers last year, will run until July 6, after which the council will review any bids received.