05 June 2009

Taxi for Citybus?

"a plan to put Citybus back on its feet”

dbg Elsewhere...
Citybus Sale

Its above you
One of those days!
The Wow Factor
Plymouth Local History
Robin Hood

Taxifast Northern Connect SF08BUP John Preece has put his hat into the ring to try and buy Plymouth Citybus, reports This is Plymouth tonight. He has set up a new company Plymouth Bus Services to facilitate the purchase.
The new company has been created as a consortium of four Plymouth firms: Mr Preece's Taxifast, its associated Taxibank brokerage operation, now owned by Taxifast managing director Simon Hirst, bus operator Target Travel and property firm London and Westcountry Estates.
Mr Preece said Plymouth Bus Services was a city bid, based on a plan to put Citybus back on its feet by improving passenger numbers. This would be done by slashing fares, improving reliability, running on new routes and linking with taxi bus services, such as the one Taxifast runs at St Budeaux. They also revealed they are working on other "innovative" ideas, such as reviving the Citybus coach operation and even running a link from Plymouth to the airports at Gatwick and Heathrow. Cabinet papers this week revealed Citybus was suffering declining patronage which impacted on profitability, and the council "retains a high-level risk through maintaining the current ownership structure".
Mr Preece said: "The council has taken Citybus to the precipice of bankruptcy. To get people back on buses we have got to get prices down and give people reliability of service."
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It is no surprise that Mr Preece wants to buy Citybus. It is interesting that he has already set out some of his plans for the company if he gets control. The promise to reduce fares is likely to be popular but will this be possible? Does this mean an increase in Taxi buses to replace some of the less used services? Passengers in Plymouth will remember the promises when he purchased Western National - it was fun for a while but it didn't last. At least he has come out and laid out his plans to some extent. Lets hope the other interested parties also go public and make their plans known so passengers can make their own minds up. I just hope that the passengers are taken into account when the final decisions are being made, and not just the council looking at getting the highest price. If the end result is a better service then most people wont care who owns the company, but people will need convincing that this will be the case. Lets hope that some effort will be made to do just that.

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