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RF1 bus service operator search extended

The process to identify a new operator to run Rutland’s RF1 bus service is being extended following a decision to undertake further procurement work.

The RF1 service runs from Melton to Corby via Oakham and Uppingham and is one of Rutland’s most popular bus routes.

Rutland County Council was recently forced to undertake a procurement exercise to identify a new operator to run the service.

This followed a decision by Centrebus Ltd to cancel its existing contract.

With more than 120,000 passenger journeys last year, RF1 is considered a commercially viable route and an open tender process resulted in a single bid from Stagecoach.

During the tender process Centrebus decided that they would like to continue to operate the service.

A cabinet meeting on May 22 approved a potential increase in expenditure to fund RF1 if needed but with officers asked to explore further options for delivering the service in the most cost-effective way.

The council has since agreed operational measures that will see the continued running of RF1 by Centrebus, while further procurement and market testing are carried out in the interest of seeking best value for public money.

Strategic director for places, Steve Ingram, 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 will run until July 6, after which council will review the bids received.

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