AN innovative way of buying in school bus services in South Derbyshire has helped net a council more than £20,000 worth of savings.
Bus and coach operators provide the trips which are paid for by Derbyshire County Council and the annual spend on bus journeys for entitled pupils is £5.8 million.
Ten home to school bus contracts were recently up for renewal and asking the bus companies to bid for the new contracts electronically, rather than on paper, has helped to save the county council £22,011 – 9.2 per cent less than it previously cost to provide the same services.
The electronic system is run as an eAuction whereby bus operators bid against one another online, driving the most competitive price.
Councillor Simon Spencer, deputy leader and cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We continue to review all of the bus services that we support, including home to school transport, to ensure we are getting the best value for money.
“These eAuctions are a good example of doing something a little more creatively to help us get the best deals and because the whole process takes up less time it means we can also make the most effective and efficient use of our staff resources.”
Around 8,500 Derbyshire students are entitled to free home to school transport. They include those living over a certain distance away from their school, students living along hazardous routes and pupils in receipt of certain benefits.