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South Yorkshire Bus Service Needs Improvement

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11 hours ago, AKAMD said:

All I can say is think yourselves lucky that you have a bus service at all!  Many rural areas have lost their bus services over recent years due to central government cutting subsidies and greedy bus operators wanting only routes that show them a profit.  It is high time Mayor Dan Jarvis fulfilled his election promise and brought public transport back under public control, then we would have a transport system to meet the needs of the people and not just the service providers!  Of course this doesn't reflect on bus drivers, just their employers.

It has obviously escaped your full attention that under current legislation it is ILLEGAL for a bus company to operate a service that does not cover its costs for other than a trial period after introduction. Non viable services are supposed to be provided by the local authority under tender to the best tendering company. You know, the same one that has consistently failed to do so and now wants to take ALL the bus services over. As for his idea of a London Style tendering system, look out for approximately 600% increase in your council tax to fund it. Pie in the Sky vote attracting bull lacking only on the ability finance and power to complete but hey, he won your vote.

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13 hours ago, AKAMD said:

All I can say is think yourselves lucky that you have a bus service at all!  Many rural areas have lost their bus services over recent years due to central government cutting subsidies and greedy bus operators wanting only routes that show them a profit.  It is high time Mayor Dan Jarvis fulfilled his election promise and brought public transport back under public control, then we would have a transport system to meet the needs of the people and not just the service providers!  Of course this doesn't reflect on bus drivers, just their employers.

In June a report on the buses was published which was highly critical of the leadership and took into account the covid 19 and it made a clear set of recommendations   https://sheffieldcityregion.org.uk/busreviewreport/

 

Some of these recommendations were to be achieved in the 3 months following publication including "the appointment of a regional leader who can promote buses and maintain their importance on regional political agendas" I wonder how many of these 7 recommendations will have been implemented in a months time 

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1 hour ago, Bigal1 said:

In June a report on the buses was published which was highly critical of the leadership and took into account the covid 19 and it made a clear set of recommendations   https://sheffieldcityregion.org.uk/busreviewreport/

 

Some of these recommendations were to be achieved in the 3 months following publication including "the appointment of a regional leader who can promote buses and maintain their importance on regional political agendas" I wonder how many of these 7 recommendations will have been implemented in a months time 

When the costings are looked at probably none. Vote farming only.

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5 minutes ago, busdriver1 said:

When the costings are looked at probably none. Vote farming only.

the usual course of action is to commission a new review

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31 minutes ago, Bigal1 said:

the usual course of action is to commission a new review

Which knowing Dan Jarvis would require a paid committee of which he'd chair, gleaning a handsome salary from the taxpayer's pocket. 

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Busdriver1, The legal requirement to cover costs of a bus service is relevant as what bus companies do is to manipulate the routes and timetables to ensure that routes they don't want to cover become loss making, despite subsidies.  For example, the bus through here at Dunford Bridge used to run between Barnsley and Holmfirth (Stagecoach).  It was a profitable route between Barnsley and Penistone (mostly urban area) but profits dropped between Penistone and Holmfirth (rural area).  To maximize their profits Stagecoach split the route into two services, one between Barnsley and Penistone and another between Penistone and Holmfirth.  The former made a huge profit and the latter an unsustainable loss, which led to a reduction in the service, which led to less people using it, which led to further cuts to the service, and so on until the route is lost and all the people living in the isolated villages and hamlets are abandoned to total isolation.  But Hey Ho the bus companies have made their profits, that's all that matters isn't it?????

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5 hours ago, Bigal1 said:

In June a report on the buses was published which was highly critical of the leadership and took into account the covid 19 and it made a clear set of recommendations   https://sheffieldcityregion.org.uk/busreviewreport/

 

Some of these recommendations were to be achieved in the 3 months following publication including "the appointment of a regional leader who can promote buses and maintain their importance on regional political agendas" I wonder how many of these 7 recommendations will have been implemented in a months time 

Yep - a report commissioned by "The mayoral authority of the Sheffield City Region" (as people have to say when in meetings) is critical of the PTE staff (half of who now owrk for SCR) and systems and so recommends that they take it over

 

Hmmm you couldnt have seen that one coming from the day they walked into the same building as the PTE

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1 hour ago, AKAMD said:

Busdriver1, The legal requirement to cover costs of a bus service is relevant as what bus companies do is to manipulate the routes and timetables to ensure that routes they don't want to cover become loss making, despite subsidies.  For example, the bus through here at Dunford Bridge used to run between Barnsley and Holmfirth (Stagecoach).  It was a profitable route between Barnsley and Penistone (mostly urban area) but profits dropped between Penistone and Holmfirth (rural area).  To maximize their profits Stagecoach split the route into two services, one between Barnsley and Penistone and another between Penistone and Holmfirth.  The former made a huge profit and the latter an unsustainable loss, which led to a reduction in the service, which led to less people using it, which led to further cuts to the service, and so on until the route is lost and all the people living in the isolated villages and hamlets are abandoned to total isolation.  But Hey Ho the bus companies have made their profits, that's all that matters isn't it?????

So the council failed in their requirement to maintain socially desirable operations and that is the fault of a business that is bond by legal constraints.  As for Huge profits between Barnsley and Penistone. . . . . . Please Please provide evidence of this PLEASE.

 

There are NO SUBSIDIES for bus operators, They do get just * payment for concessions carried, that is not a subsidy it is a commercial transaction. (The government pay the fares with OUR money) Tendered services are not subsidised, they are paid for by the local authority via (in our case) the PTE who invite tenders to run loss making services. Hardly a subsidy Since mostly the price gained only just covers the cost of operation.

* Concessionary travel payments currently do not cover the cost of the service being provided. A bus running full of concessions would lose money.  am sure the PTE still charge the same to administer this despite the payments to bus companies being almost halved.

 

Bus companies are businesses like any other and are entitled to make profits, the more reputable ones plough some of that back into the business in the form of experimental services and these sometimes take off and others fail but thats the way of life. Following your picture, they should break even or lose money, NOT try out new services, NOT invest in new vehicles, NOT expand the use of alternative fuels all of which need investment that comes from profits . Yes some profits goo to shareholders who initially invested in the companies and allowed them to grow to what they are. Or are you against that as well?  Meanwhile they are  taking the blame for anything and everything in the world despite most not being their fault. Great stuff.

35 minutes ago, sheffbag said:

Yep - a report commissioned by "The mayoral authority of the Sheffield City Region" (as people have to say when in meetings) is critical of the PTE staff (half of who now owrk for SCR) and systems and so recommends that they take it over

 

Hmmm you couldnt have seen that one coming from the day they walked into the same building as the PTE

Jobs for the boys in unaccountable positions GREAT STUFF, we really need more of them.

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1 hour ago, AKAMD said:

Busdriver1, The legal requirement to cover costs of a bus service is relevant as what bus companies do is to manipulate the routes and timetables to ensure that routes they don't want to cover become loss making, despite subsidies.  For example, the bus through here at Dunford Bridge used to run between Barnsley and Holmfirth (Stagecoach).  It was a profitable route between Barnsley and Penistone (mostly urban area) but profits dropped between Penistone and Holmfirth (rural area).  To maximize their profits Stagecoach split the route into two services, one between Barnsley and Penistone and another between Penistone and Holmfirth.  The former made a huge profit and the latter an unsustainable loss, which led to a reduction in the service, which led to less people using it, which led to further cuts to the service, and so on until the route is lost and all the people living in the isolated villages and hamlets are abandoned to total isolation.  But Hey Ho the bus companies have made their profits, that's all that matters isn't it?????

Similar on railway if they wanted to close line or station they reduced the service to such a level no one used it and low and behold they could close it.  Mind you pre Covid was going in the other direction.

 

the bus companies are not idiots and know how to play the game if they want cuts

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I am obviously not going to agree with busdriver1 on the ownership of public transport, I am a socialist and he is defending private profit out of public services; I would re-nationalize all public utilities and services.  Of course I cannot provide evidence of huge profits on the urban routes (pre-Covid-19), only make assumptions from the number of fare-paying passengers that use them.  However, my argument of bus companies manipulating routes and timetables to maximize profits at the expense of rural communities still stands.  And questioning the provision of subsidies is playing semantics.  I chaired a public meeting some years ago where SYPTE and bus operators were defending their then proposed cuts to our bus service and they both blamed 'cuts to the subsidies' by central government for the changes; 'subsidized' or 'paid for by the local authority' amounts to the same thing in my book!  I wonder if busdriver1 remembers public transport before Thatcher's deregulation in 1986? 

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12 hours ago, AKAMD said:

I am obviously not going to agree with busdriver1 on the ownership of public transport, I am a socialist and he is defending private profit out of public services; I would re-nationalize all public utilities and services.  Of course I cannot provide evidence of huge profits on the urban routes (pre-Covid-19), only make assumptions from the number of fare-paying passengers that use them.  However, my argument of bus companies manipulating routes and timetables to maximize profits at the expense of rural communities still stands.  And questioning the provision of subsidies is playing semantics.  I chaired a public meeting some years ago where SYPTE and bus operators were defending their then proposed cuts to our bus service and they both blamed 'cuts to the subsidies' by central government for the changes; 'subsidized' or 'paid for by the local authority' amounts to the same thing in my book!  I wonder if busdriver1 remembers public transport before Thatcher's deregulation in 1986? 

Firstly, I am not supporting the Privatised industry, just pointing out the constraints put on them and the role that local authorities are SUPPOSED to play but are dodging.

 

The transport act 1986 was introduced to stop local authorities playing silly buggers with buses, using them as clickbait for votes and other such things. In its initial form it would have been a good thing for the public with amongst other things, a National body with no government or local authority connection overseeing the provision of  socially desirable services. This would have removed all the issues regarding county boundaries that have plagued the industry for decades and not disappeared as forecast but in fact got worse. All because local authorities can not work together. The Real reason for the Holmfirth service being cut was the imbalance of 2 authorities over this TENDERED service. The 2 authorities could not agree on how to take it forward and the bus operator (with many years experience operating it) stated that it was not financially viable commercially. It was then put out to tender by the 2 authorities in 2 parts. (one each). You see it was never a commercially viable service and had been run as a tendered service for years. Seeing a fair few "fare paying" passengers on a service is not a true measure of that services viability, for  example, a longer service that is mainly rural can be expensive to run. Hills take a toll on a vehicles performance, Low passenger numbers often mean a smaller vehicle is used to try and keep costs down but only do so marginally  as the still require servicing, drivers and so on. It is a myth that as they cost 50% less to buy so represent a 50% saving. After overheads are taken into account they represent about a 20% saving so need to run virtually full all the time to cover costs. Given the poor rates of payment for concessions that is not likely to happen

 

I do indeed remember the transport industry prior to deregulation, I was working in it. Like many who were working in it at the time we fully understood the reasoning for the act, but felt that the final version was the weakest option of all and least likely to produce a long term settled bus service as local authorities still had their grubby fingers in the pie.

 

The worst examples of what was wrong with the industry at the time were being offered by the likes of SYPTE and TWPTE who were both operating a vote farming type of service and ignoring basic needs of their fleets, like maintenance regimes. Do you remember the visits to Sheffield and Newcastle by the Traffic Commissioners resulting in over 100 buses being put off the road as death traps?  I do, and I had a part to play in getting some of these vehicles repaired. They were a disgrace to the industry and without any exaggeration had routinely put the lives of passengers, crews and other road users at risk. All in order to offer reduced fares. An authority that could do that was not fit for purpose and really needed to go.

 

I am generally in favour of state ownership of buses, but, NOT local authority ownership. We have been there and done that and I for one do not want to go back to it. Our local authorities are on a daily basis giving us reasons to be scared of their plans if we sit and think about what they are offering to do. Be Afraid, be VERY afraid.

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Posted (edited)

I know I have said this on another thread on this subject, but cooperation between operators - WITHOUT the need for political interference - for that is what it is, as @busdriver1has pointed out, can and does work very well if it is left to those with a proper understanding of the industry - the example I always give is the operation in the Surrey/Sussex/Hampshire area, where, as at this time last year you could buy a ticket for £9.00 and go almost anywhere in the region, on many operators (sadly, not on all Stagecoach services - they are the only operator of any size not to participate for greedy reasons).

 

The idea was masterminded by the Brighton & Hove Bus Company, a Go-Ahead group company, with the support of all the local authorities in the area, and for someone like me who enjoys exploring by public transport where ever I can, it is fantastic innovation.

Link: https://www.buses.co.uk/discovery-ticke

Edited by RollingJ

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