23 November 2009

Almost certain to Go Ahead

Citybus Sale to GoAhead - More detail given


From the City Councils own web site:

Plymouth councillors are being asked to vote on whether to sell Plymouth CityBus to preferred bidder Go Ahead for £20.2 million at a Full Council meeting on 30 November. A report recommends that the Council votes in favour of the sale and outlines the deal on the table with preferred bidder Go Ahead, whose Brighton and Hove company recently won UK Bus Operator of the Year 2009. If accepted, the deal will be for all shares in Plymouth CityBus.

The full commercial details of the potential sale are outlined in the report, explaining that Go Ahead wants to continue the Plymouth CityBus name and to invest in new buses to ensure low floor access for customers by March 2011. The report points out that the bidder has a long track record of operating stand alone companies that retain their local identity. Examples include Oxford Bus Company, Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus. Other agreements in the report include maintaining the school bus routes for a minimum period of three years as currently operated by CityBus and continuing the route network that has historically been run by CityBus for a minimum period of six months with no changes – thereafter the Council will be given 90 days notice of any proposed changes.

The report outlines that there would be no compulsory redundancies for CityBus drivers for local bus services for the next 12 months, which is a guarantee very few employers can give in the current financial climate. Staff will be eligible to join the Go Ahead share save scheme. Go Ahead has confirmed it will continue to operate the engineering apprenticeship scheme. All city councillors now have ten days to consider how they will vote during the Full Council meeting on 30 November when the decision whether to sell Plymouth CityBus to Go Ahead will be debated.

The full report is available on the City Council web site so just a few snippets that have caught my eye:

Up to March 2008 all local authorities published statistics on the level of bus patronage within their local area. In the markets in which the Go-Ahead Group operated, bus patronage grew by 5.3%. during the four years to 31 March 2008; by comparison in Plymouth patronage grew by 3.6%. This statistic suggests that Go-Ahead do seek to encourage growth and patronage.

The preferred bidder wishes to continue the name of the company and has provided outline details of a possible livery that it will use to refresh the fleet.  The bidder has a long track record of operating stand alone companies that retain their local identity. Examples include Oxford Bus Company, Brighton & Hove Buses and Metrobus.

The report goes into a lot more details, which I will be following up on during the week. It is clear that the council plan to sell and its unlikely anything is going to stop it happening now...
 



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