30 November 2009

Monday is a big day


The last gasp protest?



MORE than 100 people have taken part in a colourful rally protesting against the proposed sale of Citybus. Councillors, MPs, members of the Unite union and members of the public took part in the rally which led from the Hoe into the city centre on Saturday. Led by a bagpipe player rally members waved colourful flags and ‘honk to keep Plymouth Citybus public’ signs. Plymouth’s full city council is due to meet on Monday to decide whether to accept a £20.2million bid from the national transport giant Go-Ahead for its 100 per cent shareholding in Citybus. Among those at the rally was Labour councillor Eddie Rennie who said: “I’m weary of what might happen. “There are no guarantees over jobs in the long term. I also fear that routes could be scrapped.” Former councillor, Mike Wright, said: “What they are proposing is shameful.” Unite, the UK’s largest union, organised the rally fearing a sale could mean cuts in jobs and services. Earlier this month Plymouth City Council’s cabinet agreed to accept an offer for the authority’s 100 per cent shareholding in Citybus.
This is Plymouth

There does seem to be some doubt over the numbers present with most suggesting more like 60 actually attended this time. The weather would not have helped but at the same time 400 people turned up for a pillow fight in the City Centre!

There is an impassioned plea by Luke Pollard, one of the main organisers of the protest against the sale of the Peoples Republic of South Devon. He is realistic about the hopes of winning:
The truth is that we’re not winning the campaign to keep CityBus public. Not because the campaign isn’t popular – it is; not because our alternatives to privatisation are not costed and affordable – because they are; not because the people of Plymouth aren’t backing us – because they are…but because the Tory Council and Cllr Vivien Pengelly, the Council Leader, in particular are refusing to listen and they have the majority on the Council.

Omnibuses take on it:

Yesterday saw what some describe as a last gasp attempt at influencing Plymouth council before tomorrow’s crucial debate. Some say as many as 100 marched from Plymouth Hoe to the city centre to voice support for the status quo. Others say there was less than half that number present. It certainly was nowhere near the 25,000 people who’ve signed a petition to keep Citybus in public ownership. Nor was it the 5,000 people who elected to join the Facebook page. May be the weather had something to do with it. Or may be the campaign has run out of steam. More...

I would be very surprised if I am not reporting that Citybus is being sold to Go-Ahead in my blog post tomorrow.

Further Reading

Omnibuses: Running out of Steam?
PlymTransit on Twitter

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