Stagecoach boss warns people will desert network over Swindon cuts

Swindon Advertiser: Ian Manning, the managing director of Stagecoach, fears council cuts will perpetuate a cycle of decline for for bus services Ian Manning, the managing director of Stagecoach, fears council cuts will perpetuate a cycle of decline for for bus services

THE mananging director of bus operator Stagecoach West has warned against Swindon Council’s plans to create a fully commercial bus network across the borough.

In October, cabinet approved the basic principles for creating a new local bus strategy, which will see the council and bus operators working together to ensure the network is sustainable in the long term. The service is already 95 per cent commercial.

Swindon Council commissioned the bus strategy because it says the network is facing increasing pressure from issues including the hike in fuel prices, Government cuts concessionary fares, the end of subsidies for some services and the council tax freeze.

On February 21, Swindon Council will set the budget for 2013/14 which currently includes a £200,000 saving through revising the bus subsidy strategy.

This has been reduced from a £400,000 saving in the administration’s draft budget proposals.

In a letter to councillors Ian Manning, the managing director of Stagecoach West, warned slashing subsidised routes could affect the network’s viability.

Hewrote: “The real problem is that Swindon needs evening and Sunday bus services on the core routes in the network which are now increasingly unlikely to be provided commercially and for which operators feel council budget provision needs to be allowed.

“If people cannot access their travel destinations and workplaces at these times, they will conclude public transport is not a viable alternative to the car and seek alternative transport, perpetuating a cycle of decline.

“It is therefore essential that the council does not damage its public transport network in a way in which it would be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.

“For these reasons, I encourage you to vote to retain a meaningful budget for bus service support. Bus operators would be happy to work with officers to direct to the services where, in the absence of funding, important facilities in the core network could be lost.”

Labour says the council subsidises services 22, 25 and 71, which pass either through Okus or on the Pipers Way side of Old Town, so these are vulnerable with the proposed subsidy cuts.

Coun Nadine Watts (Lab, Old Town) said: “The letter suggests that because bus services do not always provide visible outcomes they are being unfairly punished through a lack of investment.

“I would support that because a lot of my constituents who use subsidised bus routes rely on the buss to get to work, see family or friends or do their weekly shop.”

Coun Keith Williams, cabinet member for leisure and strategic transport, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Comments (12)

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10:46am Wed 13 Feb 13

Al Smith says...

Pretty much agree with Ian Manning but I have to say the real problem is SBC/TT (unlike stagecoach) don't seem to have the faintest clue about how to run a bus service.
Pretty much agree with Ian Manning but I have to say the real problem is SBC/TT (unlike stagecoach) don't seem to have the faintest clue about how to run a bus service. Al Smith

11:31am Wed 13 Feb 13

salt and vinegar says...

They won't listen to anyone untill it all goes wrong, and then they will try to blame something or everybody else for the devastation they cause to the public transport.

Reminds me of when councils and government were told if they kept giving planning permission to out of town shopping developments it would have a adverse affect on town centres, now they blame the problems on the shops not keeping up with the times. Morons.
They won't listen to anyone untill it all goes wrong, and then they will try to blame something or everybody else for the devastation they cause to the public transport. Reminds me of when councils and government were told if they kept giving planning permission to out of town shopping developments it would have a adverse affect on town centres, now they blame the problems on the shops not keeping up with the times. Morons. salt and vinegar

11:46am Wed 13 Feb 13

The Real Librarian says...

Al Smith wrote:
Pretty much agree with Ian Manning but I have to say the real problem is SBC/TT (unlike stagecoach) don't seem to have the faintest clue about how to run a bus service.
Its not a lack of understanding.
Its a lack of money.
[quote][p][bold]Al Smith[/bold] wrote: Pretty much agree with Ian Manning but I have to say the real problem is SBC/TT (unlike stagecoach) don't seem to have the faintest clue about how to run a bus service.[/p][/quote]Its not a lack of understanding. Its a lack of money. The Real Librarian

11:53am Wed 13 Feb 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Do stagecoach release detailed accounts on the services around Swindon? Route profitability etc

Or are they simply looking to ensure the public purse continues to pay them to run a commercial company.
Do stagecoach release detailed accounts on the services around Swindon? Route profitability etc Or are they simply looking to ensure the public purse continues to pay them to run a commercial company. LordAshOfTheBrake

12:01pm Wed 13 Feb 13

A.Baron-Cohen says...

Swindon could be a better place for shops and entertainment venues if buses were running when people need them to, instead of catering for a couple of pensioners.
The buses companies, could run profitable operations...but instead they run near empty buses in order to get subsidies.......
Swindon could be a better place for shops and entertainment venues if buses were running when people need them to, instead of catering for a couple of pensioners. The buses companies, could run profitable operations...but instead they run near empty buses in order to get subsidies....... A.Baron-Cohen

12:51pm Wed 13 Feb 13

rmc001 says...

I can foresee a time when Stagecoach take over all bus services in Swindon, especially with the way Thamesdown Transport are continuously reducing their services. It wasn't so long ago that the no 53 was lost to Stagecoach, so what will be the next - the 19 perhaps? I hope so, then perhaps they'll restore it's original route and increase the Saturday frequency, as making it run once an hour was wrong considering the large group of people using this bus!
I can foresee a time when Stagecoach take over all bus services in Swindon, especially with the way Thamesdown Transport are continuously reducing their services. It wasn't so long ago that the no 53 was lost to Stagecoach, so what will be the next - the 19 perhaps? I hope so, then perhaps they'll restore it's original route and increase the Saturday frequency, as making it run once an hour was wrong considering the large group of people using this bus! rmc001

2:28pm Wed 13 Feb 13

The Real Librarian says...

rmc001 wrote:
I can foresee a time when Stagecoach take over all bus services in Swindon, especially with the way Thamesdown Transport are continuously reducing their services. It wasn't so long ago that the no 53 was lost to Stagecoach, so what will be the next - the 19 perhaps? I hope so, then perhaps they'll restore it's original route and increase the Saturday frequency, as making it run once an hour was wrong considering the large group of people using this bus!
People always say things like that, but the fact is this.

If large numbers of people had actually been using the service, they wouldn't have reduced it.
[quote][p][bold]rmc001[/bold] wrote: I can foresee a time when Stagecoach take over all bus services in Swindon, especially with the way Thamesdown Transport are continuously reducing their services. It wasn't so long ago that the no 53 was lost to Stagecoach, so what will be the next - the 19 perhaps? I hope so, then perhaps they'll restore it's original route and increase the Saturday frequency, as making it run once an hour was wrong considering the large group of people using this bus![/p][/quote]People always say things like that, but the fact is this. If large numbers of people had actually been using the service, they wouldn't have reduced it. The Real Librarian

3:22pm Wed 13 Feb 13

yougi bear says...

s.b.c. it appears only have flair for getting things wrong. the thinking is if we make the road network virtualy impossible for cars, we will all jump on buses. Not so, if we pay to catch a bus to town it is more expensive than parking for two hrs
s.b.c. it appears only have flair for getting things wrong. the thinking is if we make the road network virtualy impossible for cars, we will all jump on buses. Not so, if we pay to catch a bus to town it is more expensive than parking for two hrs yougi bear

5:31pm Wed 13 Feb 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

yougi bear wrote:
s.b.c. it appears only have flair for getting things wrong. the thinking is if we make the road network virtualy impossible for cars, we will all jump on buses. Not so, if we pay to catch a bus to town it is more expensive than parking for two hrs
That was certainly the principle behind some of the ridiculous parking facilities on some of the northern developments.

Make things like driving/parking inconvenient for people and they will change their habits and use public transport..... Er.. No they won't!
[quote][p][bold]yougi bear[/bold] wrote: s.b.c. it appears only have flair for getting things wrong. the thinking is if we make the road network virtualy impossible for cars, we will all jump on buses. Not so, if we pay to catch a bus to town it is more expensive than parking for two hrs[/p][/quote]That was certainly the principle behind some of the ridiculous parking facilities on some of the northern developments. Make things like driving/parking inconvenient for people and they will change their habits and use public transport..... Er.. No they won't! LordAshOfTheBrake

7:00pm Wed 13 Feb 13

faatmaan says...

if the government is serious about getting people out of their cars and use public transport, they need to underwrite a national network of buses for many years to establish a credible and economic way of conversion, people will not just jump on a bus out of the safety zone of their car unless the services are regular, at the right times, punctual,reasionably comfortable, free of the yob element, fit for purpose and most importantly charging fares that are less then the cost of carrying a car full of passsengers.( if they can spend 20 billion plus for elitist train transport, there must be a good case for spending a fraction of this on an integrated public transport network)
if the government is serious about getting people out of their cars and use public transport, they need to underwrite a national network of buses for many years to establish a credible and economic way of conversion, people will not just jump on a bus out of the safety zone of their car unless the services are regular, at the right times, punctual,reasionably comfortable, free of the yob element, fit for purpose and most importantly charging fares that are less then the cost of carrying a car full of passsengers.( if they can spend 20 billion plus for elitist train transport, there must be a good case for spending a fraction of this on an integrated public transport network) faatmaan

7:25pm Wed 13 Feb 13

Captain T says...

Let's be honest, no government, past present or future, truly wants people out of cars and onto public transport. The amount of money the government rakes in from VED and fuel duty far outweighs any benefit from getting people onto public transport.
Let's be honest, no government, past present or future, truly wants people out of cars and onto public transport. The amount of money the government rakes in from VED and fuel duty far outweighs any benefit from getting people onto public transport. Captain T

10:05am Fri 15 Feb 13

rmc001 says...

Captain T wrote:
Let's be honest, no government, past present or future, truly wants people out of cars and onto public transport. The amount of money the government rakes in from VED and fuel duty far outweighs any benefit from getting people onto public transport.
Well said Captain T! This is very true, whilst hiding behind "Oh we're only trying to reduce carbon emissions!". It's a bit like speed cameras, "Oh, we're just trying to make the roads safer", whilst doing absolutely nothing about other road crimes!
At the end of the day it's all about the government squeezing as much money out of the general public as they possibly can.
[quote][p][bold]Captain T[/bold] wrote: Let's be honest, no government, past present or future, truly wants people out of cars and onto public transport. The amount of money the government rakes in from VED and fuel duty far outweighs any benefit from getting people onto public transport.[/p][/quote]Well said Captain T! This is very true, whilst hiding behind "Oh we're only trying to reduce carbon emissions!". It's a bit like speed cameras, "Oh, we're just trying to make the roads safer", whilst doing absolutely nothing about other road crimes! At the end of the day it's all about the government squeezing as much money out of the general public as they possibly can. rmc001

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