die belebende Bedenkung

West Yorkshire own goal

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In recent years, West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority has not been very happy with local bus operators, and as a result, it is now seeking to establish a Quality Contract Scheme. In a 2009 video, WYITA deputy chairman Chris Greaves said that First Group (which provides the majority of bus services in the county) had “overcharged and under-delivered”.

Which begs the question: why did the transport authority privatise its bus operation in the first place? Britain’s Transport Act 1985 — which introduced deregulation of provincial mainland bus services — also required passenger transport executives (PTEs) to move their bus operations into newly formed “arm’s length” separate companies. But the Act did not require passenger transport authorities to privatise those companies.

In West Yorkshire, the Transport Executive’s bus operation, re-organised for deregulation in 1986 as ‘Yorkshire Rider’, was sold to its management and employees in October 1988. In 1994, Rider was taken over by Badgerline Holdings, the core of the present-day First Group conglomerate.

Had West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority decided to retain ownership of Rider, it could have mandated a ‘moderate’ dividend policy — meaning low fares. With a low fare policy in place, there would have been little incentive for external operators to enter the West Yorkshire bus market and disrupt the pre-1986 network. And in 2012, West Yorkshire would not be faced with the enormous dog’s breakfast that is the Quality Contract scheme.

Written by beleben

September 18, 2012 at 9:32 am

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