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SYPTE press release

 

TWO PTEs TO TEST MARKET FOR BUS QUALITY CONTRACTS

 

 

10 January 2006

 

South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) and Nexus (Tyne & Wear PTE) have invited expressions of interest from bus operators in a consultation exercise in a way to improve bus services in their respective areas.

 

A notice will appear this week in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) inviting bus operators to take part in a Market Consultation exercise.

 

Bus patronage has been in steady decline in the metropolitan areas outside London and PTEs have been looking at a number of ways to reverse this trend.

 

There is a range of potential options available to PTEs to improve bus services, and these are:

 

· Voluntary Partnerships (where partners agree to make improvements, but are not legally bound);

· Statutory Quality Partnerships (where partners sign up to some quality standards, but not fare setting, or bus frequency);

· Quality Contracts (where bus services are franchised to operators for a period of five years and the Transport Executive sets the standards required).

 

David Brown, Passenger Services Director at SYPTE believes the exercise will give the industry a better understanding of the risks and costs involved in Quality Contracts and the other delivery options.

 

He said: "We are now entering the next phase of the process of exploring each of the available options to bring improved bus services and halt the decline we've seen over recent years.

 

"The main purpose of the market consultation exercise is for both PTEs to involve the bus operating industry early in the shaping of the delivery options. We have plenty of experience of the first two options, but less is known of the third - Quality Contracts."

 

Bernard Garner, Development Director at Nexus, believes this exercise will offer potential and existing bus operators the opportunity to influence future procurement strategy.

 

He said: "The Consultation is intended to give a mix of operators the opportunity to discuss Bus Strategy delivery and offer their views. We will also welcome their innovative ideas on how to achieve something we surely all want - better bus services. It will also give the PTEs and participants a better understanding of the options and the market for delivering Quality Contracts."

 

The Market Consultation will invite operators to propose innovative ways in which they can deliver the necessary improvements to bus services in areas that offer a wide range of bus service operation and network.

 

The Market Consultation exercise should last 3 months.

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First bus press release:

 

10/01/2006 SYPTE Consultation A Distraction Says First

 

SYPTE CONSULTATION A DISTRACTION, SAYS FIRST

 

First today announced that it was extremely disappointed that South Yorkshire PTE was going out to consultation on a draft quality contract. Responding to a statement from SYPTE, Nicola Shaw, Managing Director of First’s UK Bus Division, said:

 

"There is no need for this consultation -- indeed it is a distraction.

 

"The PTE are right when they say that there are three options for bus service delivery. What they fail to mention is that the third route via quality contracts is only permitted where the first two are failing.

 

“In the north Sheffield quality partnership area, First are not failing. In fact we have delivered our required network revision and part of the new vehicle commitment before any highway or bus stop works have begun. Unless this slow public sector delivery changes then bus users will be short changed.

 

“What we need to work on is improved delivery for passengers now. That vitally requires better bus priority measures to guarantee journey times to passengers. Time and time again people tell us that reliability is key to their use of buses.

 

“Quality contract / partnership or any other delivery arrangement between public and private sector would fail to address this issue without public sector delivery on the road networks in the form of bus priority and enforcement of bus lanes. Both the government and First want to see more people on buses -- both public and private sector need to deliver if we are to achieve that.

 

“This applies across the country. Quality contracts solve nothing - the real problem is tackling congestion and if that cannot be delivered by local authorities now why should it change under a quality contract?

 

“People are understandably concerned about fares rises in Sheffield. The reality is that they have only matched our costs increases. Whoever ran the buses would face the same pressures.

 

“We would urge the PTE to set this proposal aside and work with us to ensure delivery of the right bus priority measures that many other towns and cities enjoy. We owe it to passengers.”

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Originally posted by Andy C

First bus press release:

 

10/01/2006 SYPTE Consultation A Distraction Says First

 

SYPTE CONSULTATION A DISTRACTION, SAYS FIRST

 

First today announced that it was extremely disappointed that South Yorkshire PTE was going out to consultation on a draft quality contract. Responding to a statement from SYPTE, Nicola Shaw, Managing Director of First’s UK Bus Division, said:

 

"There is no need for this consultation -- indeed it is a distraction.

 

"The PTE are right when they say that there are three options for bus service delivery. What they fail to mention is that the third route via quality contracts is only permitted where the first two are failing.

 

“In the north Sheffield quality partnership area, First are not failing. In fact we have delivered our required network revision and part of the new vehicle commitment before any highway or bus stop works have begun. Unless this slow public sector delivery changes then bus users will be short changed.

 

“What we need to work on is improved delivery for passengers now. That vitally requires better bus priority measures to guarantee journey times to passengers. Time and time again people tell us that reliability is key to their use of buses.

 

“Quality contract / partnership or any other delivery arrangement between public and private sector would fail to address this issue without public sector delivery on the road networks in the form of bus priority and enforcement of bus lanes. Both the government and First want to see more people on buses -- both public and private sector need to deliver if we are to achieve that.

 

“This applies across the country. Quality contracts solve nothing - the real problem is tackling congestion and if that cannot be delivered by local authorities now why should it change under a quality contract?

 

“People are understandably concerned about fares rises in Sheffield. The reality is that they have only matched our costs increases. Whoever ran the buses would face the same pressures.

 

“We would urge the PTE to set this proposal aside and work with us to ensure delivery of the right bus priority measures that many other towns and cities enjoy. We owe it to passengers.”

 

First seem a trifle annoyed.

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First Eastern Counties gave a similar response in Norwich when a question was raised by the Green Party(Letter of reply on First East anglia web page.

 

Maybe this also upset First group!!!.........

Stagecoach named 'Best Bus Operator in Britain'

10 November 2005

The company's West Scotland operation, which runs around 400 buses stretching from Dumfries to Glasgow, took the headline Belmont International Bus Operator of the Year Award and the award for Best Large Fleet operator.

 

 

UK Bus Awards judges based their decision on the high standard of the West Scotland operation, its commitment to customer service, engineering excellence and health and safety, the effectiveness of it marketing campaigns and the huge numbers of extra passengers it has attracted to bus travel.

 

The judges were also impressed by Stagecoach's community and staff relations, while a mystery traveller remarked on the well-maintained fleet, service reliability and the enthusiasm of the company's staff.

 

Tom Wileman, Managing Director of Stagecoach Scotland, accepted the award at a special lunch in London.

 

Stagecoach had a total of nine finalist entries across the 11 categories in this year's 10th anniversary awards. The Perth-based transport giant won more awards than any other UK bus operator, collecting four further honours:

 

Stagecoach's Waterden Road depot was named London Bus Garage of the Year

The company's Oxford Tube service won the Claudia Flanders Memorial Award for Accessibility

The Stagecoach UK Bus' "Where you want to be" telemarketing campaign to attract more people to bus travel was runner-up in the Bus Marketing Campaign of the Year category

Stagecoach North West received a special commendation in the Social Responsibility category for its response to the floods that hit Carlisle at the turn of the year.

Les Warneford, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “These awards are a tribute to the dedication of all our employees across the country and show clearly the strength of our innovation, marketing, operational expertise and commitment to customers.

 

“Stagecoach is leading the way in attracting more people to bus travel and we are delighted to have received recognition from the industry by being named the country's best bus operator.

 

John Owen, Chairman of the UK Bus Awards, said: “Achieving success on both a rural and urban service demands commitment and enthusiasm from all concerned so it's not surprising that Stagecoach West Scotland has good customer relations and employee support and development.

 

“Stagecoach also work closely with local authorities, business and community to tackle issues such as vandalism and anti-social behaviour, all of which contributes to a better passenger experience.

 

During the awards ceremony, guests heard Transport Minister Karen Buck pay tribute to Stagecoach driver George Psaradakis, whose No.30 bus was blown up in one of the 7 July terrorist attacks in London. In a special video message, she said: “Your bravery and determination to return to work are to be congratulated.

 

ENDS

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

Stagecoach is one of the UK's biggest bus operators, running around 7,300 buses in nearly 100 towns and cities across the country, from the Highlands of Scotland to south-west England.

The UK Bus Awards, now in their 10th year, recognise excellence and best practice across the industry. Bus operators, local authorities and other organisations are judged on innovative projects that deliver better bus services for passengers.

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Maybe First are annoyed at the potential damage it might cause to their (almost) monopoly and the extortionate fare prices.

 

I suggest that the decline in commuters using bus transport outside of London is nothing to do with the congestion (indeed those not on a bus are surely in a car, also held up) but is to do with the ridiculous amount it costs to go anywhere. It's cheaper to drive than get a bus, so why stand outside in the freezing cold, the rain, and the dark?

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First will want to fight this tooth and nail. I seem to rember so figures that showed that in London (where there is bus regulation) profit margins are about 20 pc compared to 30 pc in the rest of the country. Hopefully SYPTE can push quality contracts through and get some control.

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Originally posted by Andy C

"There is no need for this consultation -- indeed it is a distraction.

Probably coz First would not like people to know how rubbish they are.
Originally posted by Andy C

“In the north Sheffield quality partnership area, First are not failing. In fact we have delivered our required network revision and part of the new vehicle commitment before any highway or bus stop works have begun. Unless this slow public sector delivery changes then bus users will be short changed.

Well I don't live in the North of Sheffield and service has been appaulling, laughable and pitiful since First's take over.
Originally posted by Andy C

“What we need to work on is improved delivery for passengers now. That vitally requires better bus priority measures to guarantee journey times to passengers. Time and time again people tell us that reliability is key to their use of buses.

We must certainly do not.
Originally posted by Andy C

“Quality contract / partnership or any other delivery arrangement between public and private sector would fail to address this issue without public sector delivery on the road networks in the form of bus priority and enforcement of bus lanes. Both the government and First want to see more people on buses -- both public and private sector need to deliver if we are to achieve that.

First owns the buses (unlike Nat'l Express which leases its 800 coaches), drives the buses, employs and chooses faire prices.
Originally posted by Andy C

“This applies across the country. Quality contracts solve nothing - the real problem is tackling congestion and if that cannot be delivered by local authorities now why should it change under a quality contract?

That's called ping pong, if First can't accept that they are failing then they'll never improve as they see nothing wrong.
Originally posted by Andy C

“People are understandably concerned about fares rises in Sheffield. The reality is that they have only matched our costs increases. Whoever ran the buses would face the same pressures.

I couldn't care less, i do not see public transport as having to be profitable.
Originally posted by Andy C

“We would urge the PTE to set this proposal aside and work with us to ensure delivery of the right bus priority measures that many other towns and cities enjoy. We owe it to passengers.”

No flippin bus priorities for god's sake... Perhaps if buses weren't as wide as they seem to be they'd fit in lanes. Get drives that can drive, don't go through red lights, don't drive over the lines nad don't force their tank into traffic. They are liars, incompetent, uninterested, unqualified, disrespectful and overlooking.

I HATE First and wish nothing but the worst upon it.

 

Good riddance.

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Originally posted by Captain_Scarlet

Probably coz First would not like people to know how rubbish they are.Well I don't live in the North of Sheffield and service has been appaulling, laughable and pitiful since First's take over.We must certainly do not.First owns the buses (unlike Nat'l Express which leases its 800 coaches), drives the buses, employs and chooses faire prices.That's called ping pong, if First can't accept that they are failing then they'll never improve as they see nothing wrong.I couldn't care less, i do not see public transport as having to be profitable.No flippin bus priorities for god's sake... Perhaps if buses weren't as wide as they seem to be they'd fit in lanes. Get drives that can drive, don't go through red lights, don't drive over the lines nad don't force their tank into traffic. They are liars, incompetent, uninterested, unqualified, disrespectful and overlooking.

I HATE First and wish nothing but the worst upon it.

 

Good riddance.

 

We can take it then that you are not too keen of First Group LOL

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How long will it be before people get the message,it is not public transport it is a business run to make a proffit and furnish its shareholders with lots of cash.

People run businesses to make money not be all nice and smiley to you all,do you think everytime you go into a shop they have you're best interests at heart?? if you do then you need to go out and have a look at the real world.

 

 

I hope you are all waiting for the Stagecoach Night in Shinning Armour to come alon and save you all.

You will be waiting a long time because they aint much better,make sure you dust the fag ash off you're change when you get it.

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Originally posted by tango2

How long will it be before people get the message,it is not public transport it is a business run to make a proffit and furnish its shareholders with lots of cash.

Pb is to be an amenity provided by our government's organisation.
Originally posted by tango2

People run businesses to make money not be all nice and smiley to you all,do you think everytime you go into a shop they have you're best interests at heart?? if you do then you need to go out and have a look at the real world.

I don't, but I do when I go to the Inland Revenue, council, ex-Post Office...

The real world is that First will lose because at some point that line between I'm happy to get ripped off and that's it will be passed and First will lose money rather than stuffing their pockets with it. I don't even see money invested, crumy buses, low frequency, unhelpful & unwelcoming staff, it goes all in, not out. That's why the car is queen

Originally posted by tango2

I hope you are all waiting for the Stagecoach Night in Shinning Armour to come alon and save you all.

You will be waiting a long time because they aint much better,make sure you dust the fag ash off you're change when you get it.

It cannot be worst ...

Hate them with a vengeance for making many years of travelling to work a misery.

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Part of the problem here is people can remeber when Sheffield had a transport system that was the envy of the world.

 

We had one of the biggest tram ways in the country and the COUNCIL scrapped it.

 

We had a cracking bus system that was mostly owned by the people of Sheffield a in which a great amount of pride was rightly taken. The COUNCIL sold it off.

 

We then, ten years after scrapping one tram system, had a bright spark in the COUNCIL who decided to build another one, but they waited so long to do it, that by the time they got round to building their Super-tram the people of Sheffiled had moved around a bit and the routes they had planned out in the seventies were no longer of much use.

 

But the COUNCIL built it any way.

 

The COUNCIL has also let the road system degrade to the point that it causes damage to cars that use it.

They have blocked so many roads off and generally messed about with the layout of the roads so much that the traffic jams are getting worse by the day....to a point last month were two broken down busses brought the city to a stand still

 

And while we are on this point did we get an apology from the bus company involved for this nightmare? ....er....no

 

 

Read the text above again and see what stands out...its not just the rubbish bus company thats at fault here..I think there is some one esle to blame.

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I think the SYPTE are just testing the water. Rather than go the full hog and go to Quality Contracts they want to see the views of the operators.

 

First, wrongly or rightly, respond through the media but appear to put the full blame on traffic congestion. I think First want most roads to be bus lanes and the cars to come second. Of course First want this, the service would improve and profits would rise. First of course do not want quality contracts as other operators woudl be involved and they as the main opertor would not be able to bully others off the road.

 

I hope the SYPTE carry out the same consultation with the public.

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