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New drive for quality 28 years after English bus deregulation

Posted by on Sep 3, 2013 in All news, Bus, Children, Disabled, Elderly, Europe, PPP, Services, Social inclusion, Systems |
Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) is planning to hold the private operators that run bus services in and around the English city of Newcastle to higher standards as set out in proposed quality contracts.
It is the first initiative of its kind in Britain since local bus services became one of the first examples of privatisation and deregulation introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1985.
But the private bus companies are bitterly opposed, and are proposing a voluntary quality service scheme instead.
Brian Souter, chairman of Stagecoach — which started by running a handful of deregulated routes in Britain and has grown to be a global company turning over $4 billion last year — has been quoted as saying he would rather “drink poison” than sign up to the proposed contracts.
The Tyne and Wear Public Transport Users Group supports the plan, however, and says: “Instead of the bus companies running the bus services solely for profit for their shareholders, this would mean a legally binding partnership between  our representatives (Councillors ), Nexus [the local transport planning body] and the bus companies, to improve our public transport.”
The plan is currently under consultation until November 2013.
Read the full story in the The Guardian newspaper.
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