18 June 2007

Turning the corner

Bus operator First Devon and Cornwall says it has turned a corner after several 'difficult' trading years.The firm says it has implemented changes in its operations after a new management team was appointed in April 2006.Managing director Marc Reddy said: "After a number of difficult years, we have now most certainly turned the corner. The financial performance of the company dramatically improved in the first half of 2006-07 and trading in the second half of the year started well and was in line with our expectations."Our current strong trading performance has been achieved thanks to the hard work and commitment shown by my new management team and all of our staff," he said."The successful partnerships with our local transport authorities have also played a key role in getting us to where we are today."The results include an increase of 31.8 per cent in passenger numbers in the Plymouth area, an investment of more than £5million in 56 new buses over the last two years, passenger numbers on Plymouth park-and-ride services up by 25 per cent and a 22 per cent increase in FirstDay ticket sales.

Alex Huke, public transport co-ordinator with Plymouth City Council, said: "2006-07 was a landmark year in Plymouth City Council's relations with First Devon and Cornwall following a number of highly successful joint initiatives.

David Whitton, at Devon County Council, said: "We're pleased that First Devon and Cornwall is overcoming its reliability problems and progressing towards a reliable and sustainable network of commercial bus services.

"The improvements to vehicle quality, with a reduction in vehicle age and more low-floor buses, also show the considerable progress made.

"Later this year improvements will also be introduced on the Plymouth- Tavistock corridor, as a result of a 'Kick-start' bid, jointly submitted by First and Devon County Council."Having come through this difficult period, we're confident that the partnership approach will allow us to move forward by developing services," he said, "with a joint approach to marketing and service delivery, leading to increased passenger numbers."

Congratulation to Marc and his team. The change in FDC is really evident out there on the streets of Plymouth.

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