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APPENDIX 5

Equality Impact Assessment

Park and Ride Scheme

 

Authority:

 

 

 

Maidstone Borough Council

Date EqIA commenced:

 

 

 

February 2017

Date first stage EqIA finalised for pre-consultation decision:

 

 

May 2017

Date second stage EqIA finalised after consultation closed, prior to final decision being taken:

 

January 2018

Job titles of officers involved in completing the EqIA:

 

 

Equalities and Corporate Policy Officer

 

 

Summary of decision to be made

 

The Park and Ride was introduced in the 1980s to Maidstone.  The purpose a Park and Ride Service is to reduce congestion and improve air quality.  Its future in assisting deliver this for Maidstone forms part of a complimentary body of work been undertaken as part of the Integrated Transport Strategy.

The Park and Ride originally ran from four sites until 2007/8 when the Coombe Quarry Site was closed.  This was followed by the Sittingbourne road site in 2016 as the cost of leasing the sites became financially unviable.  The council has maintained a Park and Ride scheme to date, operating from the remaining two sites; Willington Street and London Road. 

Maidstone is unusual, when compared to its nearest neighbours in Kent and Essex, in providing a Park and Ride Scheme.  It is more commonly the jurisdiction of the County Council in a two tier system of local government.

The Council faces increased savings pressures.  It is required to make savings of approximately £4.2m over the next years. There is a working assumption in the Efficiency Plan that £75,000 will be saved from the Park and Ride Service.

A full review of the scheme was commissioned in 2016.  The objectives of the review were to:

 

·         Review and assess whether the current Park and Ride service offers value for money;

·         Review and assess the impact the service has in supporting the ITS, specifically in terms of reducing peak time traffic congestion and improving air quality;

·         Identify any other benefits Park and Ride delivers;

·         Ensure the review is complementary to the strategic study looking at Park and Ride provision in the long term; and

·         Explore different uses for the funding and assets that are currently used for Park and Ride.

 

Scope of this equality impact assessment

 

·         Review of the current scheme and users pre consultation

·         Review the options for decision utilising user data and consultation results as an evidence base.

 

How is the decision relevant to the three aims of the Public Sector Equality Duty?

 

The need to ensure that the scheme is not unlawfully discriminatory is relevant to the first aim of the duty to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation

The need to consider how we can take steps to meet the needs of people with protected characteristics and whether people with disabilities may need to be treated more favourably, in how the scheme is designed, is relevant to the second aim of the duty to advance equality of opportunity. 

The proposed service changes could also be relevant to fostering good relations with regard to maintaining the confidence and trust in the local authority by people with protected characteristics who may use our services.   

 

 

Review of the current scheme

 

The Park and Ride service operates from two sites: Willington Street and London Road. 

 

The London Road site has 518 spaces and 17 disabled bays.  Willington Street has 352 space and 16 disabled bays.  Buses run to and from the town centre every 20 minutes between 7.00 and 18.30 Monday to Friday and 8.00 to 18.30 on Saturday.  It costs £2.60 for a peak time return before 9.00am Monday to Friday and £1.60 for a non-peak return any time after this and all day Saturday.  Discounts are available for those making 10 single trips or who purchase a 12 weekly or annual season ticket.

 

The review examined the short to medium term operational future of Park and Ride only; making the best use of the current assets used for Park and Ride within financial plans.  It did not consider options like changing the location of the Park and Ride sites.  The review was carried out to be complementary to the separate tri-study commissioned by the Spatial Policy team, which covers Maidstone bus interchange, Park and Ride and Parking at a more strategic level and over a longer term.

 

Park and Ride users can be identified from the income details provided below for the most recent financial period, 2016/17:


 

 

 

Ticket Type

Fares (£)

Passengers

Total Annual Income

Peak Fares

      2.60

      9,734

           25,308.40

Off Peak

      1.60

    63,849

         102,158.40

Single

      2.60

         885

             2,301.00

10 Trip ticket

    10.30

      8,044

           82,853.20

Concessions

      0.82

  132,677

         108,808.41

Season tickets

  206.00

           97

           19,982.00

Total

 

  215,286

         £341,411.41

(Table 1)

 

Age

 

We do not collect this data on Park and Ride users; However it seems Park and Ride service users are more likely to be of a pensionable age based on the income data available (above).  Older Person’s Bus Pass holders account for 61.6% of users which is considerably higher than the population average for Maidstone. This data will be requested during consultation with users and non-users of the service and will be considered as part of the consultation evaluation.

Sex

 

We do not collect this data on Park and Ride users; however this data will be requested during consultation with users and non-users of the service and will be considered as part of the consultation evaluation.

Disability

We do not hold data on users with a disability; however this data will be requested during consultation with users and non-users of the service and will be considered as part of the consultation evaluation.

Race

We do not collect this data on Park and Ride users; however this data will be requested during consultation with users and non-users of the service and will be considered as part of the consultation evaluation.

 

Other protected characteristics

 

We do not collect information about the following characteristics from service users as it is not relevant to the service being offered, and this will not be collected or considered as part of the consultation evaluation.

 

·         Religion of belief

·         Sexual orientation

·         Gender reassignment

·         Marital or civil partnership status

·         Pregnancy or maternity

 

Consultation

 

Public consultation took place in 2017. 

The first consultation closed in April 2017 established how the Park and Ride service is used.  Respondents were asked how often they use the service, for what purpose and their satisfaction with the service. From a non-user perspective the consultation sought to establish why they do not, currently, use the service.

The second consultation closed in October 2017. This was informed by the first consultation. Users and non-users of the Park and Ride Service responded to questions on their current use of the service.  For example how frequently they use the service, including the days and times they use the service.  Users and non-users also responded to a number of questions on a variety of service and financial models for the Park and Ride Service.  Questions were also included on daily tariffs for a Park and Ride service and Pay to Park service.

 

Options for decision

 

The Park and Ride review and consultations have formed part of tri-study which included a bus interchange study and parking strategy. A report will be taken forward, proposing the following options and recommending a combination of these options for decision.

 

The table below identifies where there could be an impact on Park and Ride users with protected characteristics based on a combination of service user data and user response to consultation. The impact is then considered in more detail by protected characteristic.

 

 

Tri-Study (including  Park and Ride) report for decision

Disproportionate Impact on Protected Characteristics

 

Options for decision

 

Age

 

Sex

 

Disability

 

Race

1.    Accept the best tender return to run the Park and Ride service for 7 years with buses at 15 min intervals, increase the duration of the service and implement a revised pay to ride tariff

None

None

None

None

2.    Accept the best tender return to run the Park and Ride service for 7 years with buses at 20 min intervals, increase the duration of the service and implement a revised pay to ride tariff

None

None

None

None

3.    Extend the current contract for one year, increasing bus frequency and duration of the service and implement a revised pay to ride tariff

None

None

None

None

4.    Extend the current contract for one year, increasing bus frequency and duration of the service and introduce a pay to park charging structure

Yes

None

None

None

5.    Discontinue Park and Ride, consider future options for the sites and invest the saving in alternative sustainable transport measures

None

None

None

None

 

 

Age

 

Park and Ride consultation respondents below the age of 54 are notable lower in numbers than the population average.  Those aged 55 + are much higher. Service user data shows that Older Person’s Bus Pass holders account for 61.6% of users

 

Option 1 – Positive increase in service to all users.  No evidence base to show this will advantage any age group more than another.

 

Option 2 – Positive increase in service to allusers.  No evidence base to show this will advantage any age group more than another.

 

Option 3 – Will negatively impact off-peak users.  No evidence base to show this will advantage any age group more than another.

 

Option 4 – Will negatively impact those of a pensionable age who receive concessionary fares, as they will have to pay for parking when previously they would have received the entire service free

 

Option 5 – Will negatively impact all users but no evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage any age group more than another.

 

Sex

 

Female users make up a higher proportion of consultation respondents at 64%. Male users are notably lower when compared to the population average at 35%.  Women could therefore be affected more than men by changes to the current service, however there is not solid evidence that this is the case and the split between sex could change for a number of reasons over time.

 

Option 1 – Positive increase in service for all users. Female users possibly make up a higher proportion of all users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage either sex disproportionality.

 

Option 2 – Tariffs will change for all users however, Female users possibly make up a higher proportion of all users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage either sex disproportionality.

 

Option 3 – Tariffs will change for all users however, Female users possibly make up a higher proportion of all users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage either sex disproportionality.

 

Option 4 – The pay to park will affect all users, Female users possibly make up a higher proportion of all users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage either sex disproportionality

 

Option 5 – Will negatively impact all users Female users possibly make up a higher proportion of all users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage either sex disproportionality.

 

 

Disability

 

13% of Park and Ride users in the consultation said they had a disability; this is lower than the working age population average at 16% disproportionality. 

 

Option 1 – Positive increase in service for all users. Disabled users possibly make up a lower proportion of users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage disabled users disproportionality.

 

Option 2 – Tariffs will change for all users however, Disabled users possibly make up a lower proportion of users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage disabled users disproportionality.

 

Option 3 – Tariffs will change for all users however, Disabled users possibly make up a lower proportion of users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage disabled users disproportionality.

 

Option 4 – The pay to park will affect all users, Disabled users possibly make up a lower proportion of users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage disabled users disproportionality.

 

Option 5 – Will negatively impact all users Disabled users possibly make up a lower proportion of users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage disabled users disproportionality.

 

Race

 

0.3% of users who responded to the consultation were BME and 97% were from white groups.  There are significantly less users from a BME background compared with the population average of 9.2 %.

 

 

Option 1 – Positive increase in service for all users. Users from a BME group possibly make up a lower proportion of users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage BME users disproportionality.

 

Option 2 – Tariffs will change for all users however, Users from a BME groups possibly make up a lower proportion of users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage BME users disproportionality.

 

Option 3 – Tariffs will change for all users however, Users from BME groups possibly make up a lower proportion of users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage BME users disproportionality.

 

Option 4 – The pay to park will affect all users, from BME groups possibly make up a lower proportion of users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage BME users disproportionality.

 

Option 5 – Will negatively impact all users from BME groups  possibly make up a lower proportion of users but no solid evidence base to show this will advantage or disadvantage BME users disproportionality.

 

Conclusion

 

There is very little evidence to support that a change to the park and ride service will negatively impact equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

 

Users who qualify for an Older Person’s Bus Pass and are of a pensionable are over represented as service users when compared to the population average.

 

61.6% of users use an Older Person’s Bus Pass.  A Pay to Park tariff will affect all users currently using a pass to travel.  However, the purpose of the Park and Ride service is to improve air quality by alleviating the volume of traffic travelling into the town centre.  Holders of passes will still be able to travel into the centre, free of charge, using another bus service.

 

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