Bus company sell-off on council timetable

Posted: September 9, 2007 in Uncategorized
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On Tuesday, Cardiff Council’s executive will consider plans to sell-off 40 per cent of the publicly-owed Cardiff Bus company.
Cardiff Bus is one of the last local authority-owned bus companies in Wales and struggled to survive the wide-scale sell-off that followed the last Tory government’s deregulation of bus services.
Now chief executive Byron Davies has drawn up a plan which would have the Lib Dem administration searching for a private partner.
According to Davies: “We have been looking at the possibility of a potential partner for Cardiff Bus but with the council retaining majority control. We would expect our partners to grow the existing business and provide an even better service for the people of Cardiff. It would be in their interests to do so.”
I doubt that’s how a private partner would see things. When it comes to making profit they won’t want to miss the bus. Less cost effective routes would certainly go and fares would rise.
As Cardiff Bus chairman Steve Pantak, says: “While I understand a minority shareholding would be involved, I believe this would be the thin edge of the wedge and will open the door to full privatisation of Cardiff Bus which will gradually reduce the service to customers.
“Any private company would expect a return of at least 15 per cent on turnover.
“The only way that can be met is through increased fares and/or a large reduction in marginal services which Cardiff Bus operates as a sort of dividend for the owners, the people of Cardiff.
“This looks like a fire sale to deal with a short-term financial position.”

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