I see the Tyne and Wear Public Transport Users’ Group (TWPTUG) is rolling out the same old claims about the ‘benefits’ of a Quality Contract Scheme for our bus services, (News Guardian, January 14).
Any private company, large or small, wants to make a profit, and some make more than others, but when it comes to the bus operators they are subject to all types of legislation which impacts on their running costs.
Does Ms Gilbert and her group think all the ‘profits’ go into shareholders’ pockets?
Just take a look at the investment in vehicles by the major operators.
Ask the passengers who travel on the 306/308/309/310 services through North Tyneside about the new comfortable buses, with free wi-fi, fitted with more environmentally-friendly engines and so on.
And these improvements have been implemented throughout the area covered by the North East Combined Authority.
If councillors think they can make those profits for their authorities they need to think again.
Ms Gilbert’s quote from the findings of the QCS panel simplifies, inaccurately, the decision by suggesting that the operators’ ‘profits’ are more important than the public good.
What was mentioned was the fact that the proposals would mean a loss to the operators in excess of £200m, and compared it to the fine imposed on Barclays for fixing the exchange rate, the largest in history, indicating it was clearly unfair.
Yes, our council leaders have to make a choice, and evidence presented to the panel showed at least two of those leaders would happily enter into a voluntary partnership with operators if the QCS application failed.
And such an arrangement was on offer from the operators before the application was made.
By the time this letter is printed those councillors will have made their decision and hopefully have seen sense.