18 August 2006

Unlucky 13

The days of council owned municipal bus companies seem even more numbered than ever. This past week has seen two more once proud civic fleets start the journey into private hands.
Blackburn has announced it is ready to sell its fleet to Transdev under the control of its Blazefield subsidary. Transdev recently took over control of Bournemouth, the last municipal operator to fall into private hands.
Also this week Chester council has announced it is to sell its fleet too. Chester Bus is in need of serious investment in its fleet which is one of the reasons given for its sale. Both companies have tried very hard to make a sucess of their operations with rebranding and trying hard to push their services.
What does this have to do with Plymouth? Well, in one sense nothing at all. On the other hand it does make a future sale of Plymouth Citybus seem even more inevitable. At the beginning of this week there are just 15 municipal owned bus companies left. With Blackburn and Chester most likely to have been sold by the end of this year, that just leaves 13 left. If I was a betting man (and I am not!) I might be very tempted to put my money on Stagecoach in Plymouth within the next couple of years? They certainly seem determined to reach out into new parts of Devon at the moment so the appetite is there...

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