Lothian Buses and ECB Discussion

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Whoever comes in will put their own stamp on the company, I hope the subsidiaries and the jobs with them stay. If someone like Mark Heritage was to take over then I certainly could see them sticking.

It’d be interesting to know why Hall has waited until now to go...
 

mark-h

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One in six bus stops to be taken out in trial scheme to cut journey times in Edinburgh
From Edinburgh Evening News
One in six bus stops on a busy cross-city route are to be taken out of service in a trial scheme to speed up journey times.

A total of 26 bus stops will be removed on Lothian Buses’ No 44 service between Balerno and Wallyford during the pilot.

And if it is judged a success, transport bosses are expected to cut the number of bus stops on other routes throughout the area.

The move comes after bus operators told the city council a review of bus stop spacing was needed to improve the reliability of services.

The latest street design guidance in Edinburgh says bus stops should be placed about every 400m along a route, although closer spacing may be appropriate in town centres or to meet special needs, such as sheltered housing complexes.

But a report to the transport and environment committee, which meets on Thursday, says for a variety of reasons, many bus stops in the Capital are closer together, with about 20 per cent less than 200m apart, leading to slower journey times and congestion.

Transport and environment convener Lesley Macinnes said: “We want to make travel by public transport even more reliable and stress-free, which is why we’re proposing this trial, in partnership with Lothian.[/quote[]
 

Jordan Adam

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Whoever comes in will put their own stamp on the company, I hope the subsidiaries and the jobs with them stay. If someone like Mark Heritage was to take over then I certainly could see them sticking.

It’d be interesting to know why Hall has waited until now to go...
I think whoever comes in will probably be more aligned with the council when it comes to their future vision for the company.

Although pure speculation i wouldn't be shocked if some "brown envelopes" were exchanged prompting Halls departure.
 

Driver362

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Whoever comes in will put their own stamp on the company, I hope the subsidiaries and the jobs with them stay. If someone like Mark Heritage was to take over then I certainly could see them sticking.

It’d be interesting to know why Hall has waited until now to go...
Really, I'd tend to disagree
 

SpeedbirdA350

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I wonder who the new MD for LB will be. I would like to hope for Andrew Jarvis, although it would be hard to prize him away from First, he would be a good appointment.
 

Jordan Adam

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I wonder who the new MD for LB will be. I would like to hope for Andrew Jarvis, although it would be hard to prize him away from First, he would be a good appointment.
That would be a real stab in the back for Richard Hall... can't see it happening though.

I do hope the next MD has a lower salary as Halls is ridiculous.
 

CN04NRJ

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I'd say that the writing is almost certainly on the wall for LCB. They are losing money hand over fist. I can't see them lasting for much longer.
Even after everything they've invested so far?
Seems a bit of a stretch to say they'll just give up after less than two years?
 

Driver362

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This is the point I'm making on west lothian thread with posts like that, maybe we should make that person MD.  Everything that's not madder, sell it, shut, it cut it, etc o_Oo_O
I can see both LCB and ECB being sold off and Motorcoaches closed down, leaving LB to concentrate on the core city market.
 

Big Ralphie

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Hopefully no one will loose there job what ever the final outcome of the bus situation in the lothian area something has gone wrong that richard Hall is leaveing at such short notice but only those round the big table makeing the decisions no what plans lie ahead or do they!
 

Driver362

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Well yes I would tend to agree. I met him a good few times at the start up of LC and found him to be very approachable. On one occasion I stood for 30 mins chatting about old buses!. Granted that dose t make him a great director. I would tend to agree that something must have gone wrong in a big way. First it was calls for transparency, then he's gone. It is worrying as an employee of LC. I just hope I have a job when it all shakes out! One might hope that Lothian City would take some if not all of us on if they wound it up. Granted as well I have colluges that wouldn't want to go. Who knows it will surely come out in the wash?
 

Darklord8899

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.....I don't think we will ever find out the real reason for his departure....
I dare say his thoughts and ideas didn't fall in line with the council, and haven't there been comments from LB pretty much criticising the Council's view of public transport and how to solve problems?
So it was inevitable that he would have to go....
 

Jordan Adam

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Even after everything they've invested so far?
Seems a bit of a stretch to say they'll just give up after less than two years?
Most of the resources invested (bulk of which will be vehicles or facilities) can be reallocated elsewhere or sold on. Potentially helping get the fleet to Euro 6 compliance. I wouldn't say it's a stretch, it all depends on the opinion of the reformed management team and influence of the council going forward, but if they've continued to see a drop in profit (which seems very likely given Halls short notice departure among other issues), then anything loss making will likely be scaled back or axed.
 

Lothian_Bus

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A few buses at different depots. 952 has been at Longstone this week. Joined by 953 today. 1059 also at Longstone although on the 44 today so not immediately obvious.
 

takno

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.....I don't think we will ever find out the real reason for his departure....
I dare say his thoughts and ideas didn't fall in line with the council, and haven't there been comments from LB pretty much criticising the Council's view of public transport and how to solve problems?
So it was inevitable that he would have to go....
The council do seem to be utterly obsessed with their disastrous plans for not running buses through the centre. Personally I wouldn't want to be anywhere near a senior leadership position in Edinburgh buses while they are busy making that mistake. No idea if that relates, but my impression over the last couple of years is that the council is firmly back to treating Lothian as a cash cow rather than a strategic partner in solving Edinburgh's transport problems
 

oldman

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my impression over the last couple of years is that the council is firmly back to treating Lothian as a cash cow rather than a strategic partner in solving Edinburgh's transport problems
I have just quoted this from the City Mobility Plan on the West Lothian thread, but its relevant here:
Better alignment of strategic business planning and operational management of the Council owned transport companies with the city’s transport travel policy and programmes needs to be accelerated if the foundation for a transformational change is to be laid securely
They don't want a strategic partner, they want a manager; they'll do the directing.
 

overthewater

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https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman....controversy-and-transparency-concerns-1891188

Lothian bus boss Richard Hall left his role as the highest paid public official in Edinburgh under a cloud of decaying relationships and questions over transparency.

Exact details over Mr Hall’s departure, including any potential golden handshake, have not been released beyond the leaving date of 6 March.

Lothian did not answer questions about why the managing director has decided to step down from his role or if he has received any money as part of his departure, stating the company did not wish to add anything to their initial press release.

However, emails obtained by the Evening News paint a picture of a managing director scared of public and private scrutiny as senior councillors lost patience with his handling of multiple scandals which rocked the publicly owned bus company in 2019.

Mr Hall is also understood to have dodged meetings with union representatives for five months in the run up to the threatened strike action in August last year, as well as being replaced by new interim managing director Nigel Serafini at public events.

His bus company also refused to release details of his £15,000 expenses to this newspaper before publicly releasing outline numbers quietly on Monday following the announcement of his departure.

Lothian have also blocked attempts to release detailed information about lost mileage - when buses are taken off the road due to maintenance, congestion or staffing - while Mr Hall refused to have a sit-down interview with the Evening News in July last year at the height of the threats around potential strikes.

The battles to force Lothian to release the information and Mr Hall’s expenses are both with the Scottish Information Commissioner.

Lothian said they publish figures in line with publicly owned transport operators and respond to freedom of information requests in line with legislation.

Chair Jim McFarlane added senior officials meet with union and attend council meetings regularly.

Questions over the council administration’s role in his departure have been raised by opposition councillors, with Conservative group chairman Jason Rust saying the circumstances around his departure must be “urgently” brought to light.

Edinburgh City Council’s transport convener Lesley Macinnes said Mr Hall’s departure was “quite rightly” a matter for Lothian.

Transport convener was 'deeply concerned'

Emails sent between Lothian chair Jim McFarlane and Lesley Macinnes show relationships between the council and the publicly owned bus company were strained throughout last year.

In one message, sent on 7 May last year, Cllr Macinnes writes in reference to concerns over buggy and wheelchair space on new ‘super buses’ that she was “deeply concerned” that issues were not being addressed and “there is considerable resistance to any acceptance of the issues raised”.

She continues “This does not bode well, in my opinion, for any kind of positive resolution and a change in public perceptions. The risk to the Lothian brand is considerable on both issues.”

In the same email chain, Cllr Macinnes makes clear her intention to speak to Mr Hall about the issues at a public meeting with the Edinburgh Bus Users Group (EBUG), only for Mr McFarlane to state he would be replaced by Mr Serafini at the event.

Correspondence also shows Mr Hall avoided meeting with Union representative Lyn Turner for more than five months in advance of threatened strike action over bullying allegations within Lothian management.

A later email in August from Cllr Macinnes shows a further breakdown in relationship, with frustration over Mr Hall’s lack of availability to meet with concerned passengers with accessibility needs.

In trying to get a meeting organised, Cllr Macinnes said she had been trying “repeatedly” to organise a meeting with “no other suggested dates from your end”.

She added: “It is imperative that this meeting takes place in the very near future...Lothian Buses cannot surely be seen to ignore these concerns.”

'The council administration needs to be transparent for its own sake'

Conservative group chairman, councillor Jason Rust said: “We urgently need to know the role of the Administration in this departure and that all proper procedures have been followed.

“It is extremely concerning that yet another organisation in which this Council has a major stake is in a state of upheaval and staff and customers of this publicly owned company have a right to understand the reasons which led to this departure. The Council Administration needs to be transparent for its own sake.

“We already know of concerns publicly aired about Lothian Buses guaranteeing the £20million extraordinary dividend for the tram and of course the company has been warning of service disruption during the tramworks on Leith Walk.

“There were reported disagreements over its response to the Council’s Summertime street project and questions have been raised around the impact of the 20mph limit on bus services.

“However, the Council has to be absolutely clear about the division of responsibilities and that in accordance with legislation that there is no political interference.”

Matter was 'quite rightly' for Lothian Board

Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “Any decision or negotiation regarding the role of Managing Director was, quite rightly, a matter for the Lothian Board.

“There has, however, been an ongoing dialogue between the Council and Lothian on a range of issues, most, if not all of which have been publicly discussed by Transport and Environment Committee and will continue to be addressed where necessary.”

Jim McFarlane, Chair of Lothian said: “Lothian is obligated to respond to all requests for information made under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2000 in line with current legislation.

“In the interest of transparency Lothian publishes figures on its website which includes our full annual accounts as well as the expenses of the Managing Director. Expenses for 2018 and 2019 are detailed separately online in a standard followed by other publicly owned transport operators such as Transport for London.

“Mr Hall’s expenses include his expenses and costs from his roles as Vice and subsequently Chair of the Confederation of Passenger Transport Scotland (CPT), the trade association representing the UK Bus and Coach Industry – a role for which Lothian bears the cost.

“The most appropriate senior officials meet with trade union representatives from Unite on a regular basis and Lothian’s executive leadership team frequently undertake public and political engagements with senior representation attending as required.

“In addition the Managing Director and Chair regularly attend council meetings with officials and elected representatives from all four of our local authority shareholders.” [QUOTE/]
 
Joined
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A few buses at different depots. 952 has been at Longstone this week. Joined by 953 today. 1059 also at Longstone although on the 44 today so not immediately obvious.
952 is back, Central do turns on the 44 and they can be swapped for Longstone vehicles, happened before with 312, 351 and 371
 

oldman

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I almost feel sorry for Hall having to deal with councillors who say 'it's up to Lothian' when things go wrong but take credit when it suits them. He wouldn't have had that in the private sector, or 'newspapers' using FOI to fuel hostile stories - 'revealed, the worst Lothian routes for cancellations'; 'revealed, which hotels did Hall stay in on his jollies (vital networking trips) to London'.

But I won't forgive him the seats in the 100-seaters.
 

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