So the Passenger Transport Users Group thinks it has achieved a victory with the decision by the NECA to move towards Quality Contracts for bus services.
Clearly they must be a young group otherwise they would realise this is nothing new.
Prior to deregulation of bus services they were controlled by Tyne and Wear PTE (the forerunner of Nexus) under the direction of local politcians who also controlled the Metro system.
Can they remember the bus services terminating at Metro interchanges and passengers transferring from their nice warm buses into the cold, then on to Metro trains?
Can they remember local buses not running across the Tyne Bridge because of PTE rules?
Or all the buses being painted yellow and white?
Then came the PTE ‘secured services’. As a bus driver at this time I spent many hours ploughing the streets on these services with very few passengers and on some journeys none at all.
Certainly I never took enough cash to cover my wages/fuel etc.
And even today we have this same situation under Nexus.
Have you ever seen a full or even generous load on the Nexus service from the ferry to Park Hotel, Tynemouth, for example?
What Nexus has been spending tax payers’ money on are new bus stop signs with place names and logos, isn’t a simple ‘Bus Stop’ sufficient for travellers to know where to stand?
So, we have another situation where services are to be dictated by politicians, all buses to be painted the same colour (hopefully not red and grey), Oyster cards bringing an end to paying the driver (tough on the visitor or infrequent traveller who does not have one).
So leave it to the politicians rather than people who have grown up in the bus industry. People who have seen the need for improvements and invested.
All the major operators have in recent years introduced new services along with modern, state of the art vehicles with wi-fi, comfortable seating, along with better trained staff.
Fortunately there are a few years to go before they will be introduced and an appeals procedure to be considered.
I say to the group and the politicians, don’t count your chickens too soon.
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