12 June 2009

Besmirching Citybus?

"We should be very careful about besmirching the reputation of Citybus and the language we use”

From This is Plymouth last night

TALK of Plymouth Citybus being near bankruptcy is aimed at affecting the sale price, says Labour councillor Chris Pattison. Taxi boss John Preece, who has put together a consortium to bid for the company, said last week: "The council has taken Citybus to the precipice of bankruptcy."
At a scrutiny meeting yesterday, Mr Pattison, the councillor for Ham, said talk about the company's viability and John Preece saying it was near bankruptcy "seems to me to be designed to achieve a certain price". Mr Pattison said: "There is not a single minute in the Citybus minute book that raises concerns about its future viability. This is about the council disposing of an asset to raise a capital receipt. "There are already enough smoke and mirrors around this issue. We should be very careful about besmirching the reputation of Citybus and the language we use."
Mr Pattison asked "Why are we trying to sell Citybus now? Why does it have to be done to such tight deadlines? "Could this not be delayed for six months for wider talks?" He said the only way to protect routes in the city was by retaining ownership of the company.
John Cremins, the council's head of strategic procurement, said: "The market has been more and more concentrated in the hands of six or seven big operators. Plymouth Citybus cannot compete with them. We face it coming under attack from one of the large operators and being undermined. "The council cannot provide the resources Citybus needs to expand. The council is already reducing the level of subsidised bus services.
"Citybus maintains a profitable route network. There has been concern that routes will be cut. I would be surprised if an operator came in with a view to cutting its routes. This is a viable economic entity. If it was to suffer considerable losses, the route structure would be reduced even if it was owned by the city council,"
Mr Cremins said. "The size of the company is such that its capacity to absorb shocks from the economy is much lower." He said Reading's council-owned bus company had lost 14 per cent of its turnover in just eight weeks.

There is an interesting point made in the comments that reminds us that Mr Preece himself was in court a while back claiming damages after claims about his own business were made which he felt was having a negative impact on the company.

1 comment:

  1. It is also noticeable that there is never any bad press for John Preece in the Herald and any comments left on their website which question his stance or motives regarding the Citybus sale are removed very quickly. What hold does he have over the Herald? He obviously has some strings he can pull.


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