18 September 2009

The Battle for Preston - Part One


"the directors decided that it was in the best interests of employees and the business to approach potential purchasers”



PlymTransit on Twitter
We now turn to Preston to see if what happened there could possibly be of interest here...
09 June 2007 LEP War of words...
The battle for Preston's bus routes has entered a new stage, with the city-based transport company accusing its national rival Stagecoach of trying to drive it out of business. .

18 June 2007 LEP Watching brief...
The North West's most senior traffic official warned today she is keeping "an extremely close eye" on the bus war poised to break out in Preston. It is feared the increased traffic of at least 12 extra buses hitting the streets every hour from later this month will worsen city centre congestion.

22 June 2007 LEP Preston Bus speak out...
Preston Bus has served the city for more than 100 years and is committed to continuing this vital role. Originally, Preston Bus competed with Ribble who operated the out-of-town services. The situation has changed with the acquisition of Ribble by Stagecoach, which has decided to duplicate the same city services that Preston Bus offers. While competition is healthy, there is a huge danger that if it is aimed at gaining a monopoly of transport in Preston, then the only losers will be the public - through lower quality of service and value for money.

02 July 2007 Preston fight back...
Preston Bus has hit back in the city's bitter bus war. The company has announced it will run a 10-minute service from the city's bus station into Penwortham, previously territory dominated by rival operator Stagecoach. The news is the first fightback from Preston Bus in its battle against Stagecoach. The national operator recently begin running services on the city's most popular routes.

03 July 2007 Preston Bus Recruit recruit...
Up to 40 new jobs have been created by the latest wave of 'bus wars' among Preston transport providers. The employee-owned Preston Bus has announced it is taking on extra staff as it prepares to launch new routes from the city centre into South Ribble next week. Meanwhile, Stagecoach has announced it is to introduce a fleet of 15 new double decker buses on to two of its routes out of Preston.

18 July 2007 Fight gets personal among drivers...
Managing director of Preston Bus, Peter Bell, claims that staff from Stagecoach have been taunting his workers, telling them they will soon be out of work.

20 August 2007 It gets nastier still...
Two Stagecoach employees have been disciplined after four occasions when eggs were thrown at buses belonging to rival Preston Bus. The incident is the most serious in the city's escalating bus war, which has seen Preston Bus and Stagecoach battle it out for customers in recent months.

23 August 2007 Complaints made...
A Lancashire bus war is to be reported to the Traffic Commissioner over claims it could put children's lives at risk. A Preston councillor sais he is taking the action because the number of buses on Black Bull Lane in Fulwood is now "intolerable" and he feared for the safety for school pupils on the city's street.

13 September 2007 Fares will rise after...
A bus boss has warned that rising fares on a popular route in Preston shows what would happen if a national operator wins the city's "bus wars." Managing director Peter Bell, of Preston Bus, said that Stagecoach had upped fares on its service to Morecambe just a month after his firm withdrew its service covering part of the same route.

19 October 2007 Issue raised in Parliament...
Bus giant Stagecoach has hit back at claims it is using "underhand methods" and "dirty tactics" against rival Preston Bus. Preston MP Mark Hendrick criticised the firm during business questions in the House of Commons and accused Stagecoach of trying to push the Deepdale Road-based company off the road. But public transport giant Stagecoach hit back, accusing Mr Hendrick of "hiding behind the cowardly cloak of Parliamentary privilege."

29 November 2007 Issue raised in Parliament again...
In a half an hour debate in Westminster this week, Preston MP Mark Hendrick talked of the escalating conflict between rivals Preston Bus and Stagecoach. He claimed that large operators often used dirty and underhand tactics to drive out smaller operators and Stagecoach was trying to kill off the local employee-owned Preston Bus company.

5 December 2007 Public enquiry...
A public inquiry is to be launched into the way transport giant Stagecoach has behaved during Preston's bus wars. The probe by North West Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell will "look into its conduct as an operator."

22 May 2008 War still rages...
Preston's bitter 'bus wars' continue to rage, according to the boss of one of the city's biggest operators. Peter Bell, managing director of Preston Bus, claims its rival, Stagecoach, is still using "tactics" in an attempt to drive his firm out of business, despite a public inquiry into the antics next month. A spokesman for Stagecoach North West said: "Stagecoach denies that there is or has been any inappropriate conduct and will be presenting our case to the Traffic Commissioner accordingly."

The Star: 30 May 2008 Preston invest in new buses...
A fleet of new luxury environmentally-friendly buses has rolled into Preston. The first of the eight new buses, which give off much lower emissions than older vehicles and feature hand-stitched leather seats and wooden floor finishing, have just gone into operation on the city's park and ride services.
47708-02 (by ian.simpson223@btintern et.com)
©Ian Simpson Park & Ride liveried Optare Solo.

Preston Citizen: 11 June 2008 Code of practice agreed...
Preston’s bitter bus wars have come to an end after the companies involved were told to sign a peace deal. Rival firms Stagecoach and Preston Bus have signed a code of practice vowing to adhere to strict guidelines bringing the year-long battle for the city's most lucrative routes to an end

LEP: 17 June 2008 Preston drivers in walkouts...
Angry bus drivers have vowed to stage more wildcat walk-outs in a row over their sick pay. Staff at Preston Bus claim they have been "betrayed" by management after they went back on a promise to keep their paid leave if they are assaulted at work.

LEP: 3 January 2009 Stagecoach wins!...
Preston Bus workers are set for windfalls of up to £30,000 from the company's sale to rival Stagecoach. The firm's 120 shareholders, which includes drivers and bus station workers, can expect a slice of the sale price, believed to be around £6.4m. Shareholders are to meet on January 21 to vote on whether to accept the deal which could lead to 44 staff based at Preston Bus' depot on Deepdale Road losing their jobs. It is expected the depot, which can hold around 130 vehicles, will be kept on, alongside Stagecoach's depot on Selborne Street, Frenchwood. The Stagecoach deal has also seen Labour politicians turn on their own party for not stepping in to save Preston Bus.

The Times: 24 January 2009 PrestonBus sold...
Staff at Preston Bus, Britain's last employee-owned bus company, will receive windfalls of about £16,000 after selling their business to Stagecoach for about £5 million. “The company faced an uncertain future as a result of the current economic climate and legislative changes. These issues could have seriously undermined the business and, as a result, the directors decided that it was in the best interests of employees and the business to approach potential purchasers,” he said.

Phew! 18 months of bitter fighting and the mighty Stagecoach has won the battle of Preston. But that is not the end of the story. See part two tomorrow for what happened next...

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments:

Post a comment

Have something interesting to say? Please share it here!

(Moderation is currently switched on so please allow a short while before your comment appears on the site. This is only to cut down on spam - not to cut out people who disagree with me!)