21 November 2009

Small print

Citybus Sale to Go-Ahead: the small print

In a programme of investment, Go-Ahead will reduce the average age of the bus fleet from nine to eight years by March 2011.
Step entrance vehicles will be eliminated from frontline services by March 31, 2011.

Go-Ahead do have a good reputation of keeping up with fleet investment, but it has to be said that prior to the council putting the company on the market and the subsequent extra services put on by First, Citybus were likely to have achieved this target on their own, or at least get pretty close to it. The recent low floor double deckers were planned to rid the fleet of the older step entrance double deckers, whereas many of them seem to be hanging around on school services. It is clear that a few of the older step entrance Darts and Volvo B6s have also been placed back into service as Citybus have taken on extra routes themselves.Of course it is also possible that Go-Ahead could transfer low floor buses from elsewhere within the group in the same way that First do.

Staff will be eligible to join the Go-Ahead share-save scheme.
Citybus's engineering apprenticeship scheme will continue.
If, within 30 years, Go-Ahead sells the Milehouse depot or grants a long lease on the site, or there is a change in use, the council will receive a percentage of any profit.
It is good to see that Milehouse is protected to some extent at least, although the actual percentage has not been released, nor I guess is it likely to be.

The final section concerns drivers:

There will be no compulsory redundancies of local bus drivers for 12 months "for reasons within the company's control".
As has already been asked - what happens in 12 months time? In reality it is highly unlikely that Go-Ahead will be looking to reduce the number of drivers in any big way. If they do look to cut back on some services then the chances are they can loose staff through natural wastage normally. Of course this guarantee, for what its worth, only includes drivers. As is often the case, back room admin staff / management will be feeling most at risk in all of this. My thoughts are with them at the moment, as quite a few staff where I work find themselves 'at risk' at the moment for various reasons - it does not make for a happy work environment.
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