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Ray Wilkes makes the case for the rights of bus companies to be recognised. Should this view be allowed to trump a wider public interest?


From: Ray Wilkes, Tower Road, Shipley.
THE West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority, on advice from Metro, threw out a Quality Partnership offer from the Association of Bus Operators in West Yorkshire. The offer was to double bus use in West Yorkshire through quality improvements over the next decade or so.
Instead the ITA will be pursuing Quality Contracts which will either come to nothing or, if they are implemented, increase costs to the taxpayer and reduce the quality of the bus networks due to funding shortfalls and inappropriate policies on bus operation.
Metro’s proposals would be a kind of nationalisation without compensation.
The bus companies would 
keep their depots and buses, but would not be allowed to use them except on the say so of Metro – and then only if they were successful through a tendering process.
They would no longer be able to run their business in the normal commercial way and would lose their right to receive income from their assets.
As a result, it would be more difficult for bus companies to raise monies through the markets, so most of any necessary bus investment would then fall on the public purse on a UK-wide basis.
Our transport networks need huge amounts of investment. In the current bad and deteriorating financial crisis this investment cannot come mainly from public funding. It is absolutely vital that the private sector takes an increasing burden of transport investment. However, this can only happen if companies can make market-related profits and be sure that their investments are safe from predatory politicians. Investment risk is high enough without these additional political or irrational factors undermining confidence.
I think all UK political parties should respect property rights, it is a very important basis of our freedoms. I understand that this is a basic tenet of all three main parties and I therefore hope to see some action against Metro soon.


cockney sparrow
4,460 Posts
Amazing that he calls politicians predatory but sees absolutely nothing predatory about private companies seeking to make profits from public services.
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