25 April 2006

Reddy to do business?

From This is Plymouth
The new boss of one of the South West's biggest bus companies has vowed to get more people out of their cars and onto public transport in a bid to beat congestion in Plymouth. Marc Reddy, 34, took over the running of First Devon and Cornwall after its previous managing director, Gerald Taylor, stepped down last month.
Mr Reddy has taken the helm at a challenging time for the bus company. The business has made a loss in recent years and is awaiting the result of a public enquiry into the condition of buses it operates in Bude and Barnstaple.But Mr Reddy, a former University of Plymouth student who also worked part-time as a Western National bus driver in Tavistock while studying for his degree in transport management, said he believed it was possible to turn around First's fortunes - and is keen to get on with the job
"I'm not anti-car; I'm pro-bus. I'm not saying to people, 'You shouldn't have cars'; it's how cars are used. Plymouth has bus priority measures, but there's a lot more people can do. Between us, fellow-operators and the council, we are trying to make buses a priority."
Mr Reddy said he would be looking at routes operated by the company - and would not rule out scrapping routes if they didn't pay
With the current city council drive to review its asset base, rumours have been flying that First is considering making a bid for rival operator Citybus.Mr Reddy said that discussions had taken place on this subject between the two companies - but admitted that if Citybus did come on to the market, then First would be likely to make a bid."The First Group is the largest surface transport operator in the UK, with both rail and bus. We're always looking to make acquisitions. We would be interested if the opportunity arose," he said.
Mr Reddy said: "One of the things I intend to do is to bring the financial performance back. I have the backing of the First Group and one of the things that we need to do is bring the company back to a profitable position.

Good luck Marc - you are going to need it!

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