Author Topic: Cross subsidising bus services  (Read 2061 times)

Offline Elsworth Fox

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Cross subsidising bus services
« on: December 08, 2011, 04:07:13 PM »
I wonder what others thought of this suggestion from the opposition on the County Council as mentioned in Tuesday's Cambridge News.

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Home/Let-popular-bus-services-pay-for-threatened-ones-06122011.htm

This was, of course, one of the targets of the 1985 Transport Act.  Many big operators had used the excuse of having to maintain a service network including loss making ones, to object to new operator's service proposals.  This could be taken to farcical lengths when they wanted to protect their 'territory'.

There was also the argument that passengers on the profitable routes had to pay more to subsidise the loss making ones. 

Offline Danny

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Re: Cross subsidising bus services
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2011, 06:58:40 PM »
Crazy idea.

"A new tax could be levied on profits from popular bus services to subsidise threatened ones, campaigners say." - well, that's daft, as further costs to operators would just push more services under as they become unprofitable.

However, the rest of the article doesn't follow that line (so what that first bit's about I've no idea), instead talking about franchises etc (i.e. not anything like "a new tax"  ::))

"Under this, companies would not be free to set up services as they are currently but would have to bid to win routes and timetables designed by the local authority." - that's more like it.

"The council would have the power to cream off cash from ticket sales on heavily-used routes to fund socially necessary routes which are not commercially viable, and to introduce cross-company ticketing."

Still crazy though, do they have no idea how much this is going to cost to set up? London has millions and millions of subsidy every year - I would suggest Cambridgeshire doing this would cost far more than the £3 million they're trying to save.

For a start, what's in it for the operators? Will they bid for routes where their profits are being taken away? Obvious, they'll have to be paid to run the franchise. They're not going to be happy if the profits of franchised service are less than when they ran it commercially.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2011, 07:00:12 PM by Danny »

Offline Stonechat

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Re: Cross subsidising bus services
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2011, 08:43:21 PM »
Of course the proper solution is to return to the status quo ante 1979.

Then, public- and municipally- owned companies used to do just that. As a political decision these companies were sold off, often at knock-down prices, to various groups, often spivs and chancers, with the results that we now see today.

Unhappily, I see no political will at the moment to do anything about it. Danny refers to the effects on the operators's profits. Public transport should not need to make a profit, that is not it's purpose in life.

Tony


Offline Elsworth Fox

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Re: Cross subsidising bus services
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2011, 03:03:02 PM »
Of course the proper solution is to return to the status quo ante 1979.

Then, public- and municipally- owned companies used to do just that. As a political decision these companies were sold off, often at knock-down prices, to various groups, often spivs and chancers, with the results that we now see today.

Unhappily, I see no political will at the moment to do anything about it. Danny refers to the effects on the operators's profits. Public transport should not need to make a profit, that is not it's purpose in life.

Tony

Oh dear, this seems a little extreme.  As in all things human, there were good and less good organisations.  That includes operators, local authorities, and, dare I say it, traffic commissioners.  This applied before 1986 as well as since then.  I met people involved with bus operations in the late seventies who saw no long term future for them and saw their task as gently running down the industry.  The '85 Act put a stop to that at least.
We should also remember that the Act had two distinct parts: 'privatisation' and 'deregulation', although the latter is something of a misnomer.  Whether one could have one without the other is questionable, I agree.

Offline TCD813

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Re: Cross subsidising bus services
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2011, 07:33:01 PM »
I've been in e-mail communication with Killian.

He's OK really and been pretty supportive on some other local (not transport-related) issues but I think this was just a minority-party versus majority-party stunt – not that I said that to him!

I've e-mailed him the Competition Commision's provisional recommendations and I'll send him a referenced commentary with suggestions about how Cambridgeshire might move forward.

I'll keep the Forum posted on this.
TCD813? The reg of a Southdown Motor Services, Northern Counties bodied, Leyland Titan PD3/4 FH39/30F (popularly dubbed 'Queen Mary') from the late 50s.
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