The Remaining Municipals

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Mutant Lemming

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...and then there were eleven. How safe are the remaining eleven municipal bus operators in the UK from the predatory clutches of the large conglomerates ?
 
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WestCoast

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Two examples I reckon are secure in the short to medium future;

On the Fylde Coast, Blackpool Transport seems pretty safe. The Council are very committed to the operator because of the huge tramway investment taking place. The tramway is also a major liability at the same time, which is probably why BT has been avoided by the big transport groups. The only real 'competitor', Stagecoach in Lancashire, has never really tried to compete seriously with BT and has never seemed interested in an acquisition.

Lothian Buses in Edinburgh are very determined and focused on providing a higher level of service than the generic transport groups (they constantly win awards), even with the tram fiasco in the city. They faced really intense competition from First back in 2000 - 2005 with all sorts of sneaky tricks and they essentially won the bus war. The King of municipals.
 

tom1649

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Nottingham City Transport must have a relatively safe future if the amount of investment in the network over the last decade is anything to go by. They, alongside the council have made a remarkable achievement in making Nottingham one of the least car dependent cities outside of London. They would be quite short sighted to sell such a successful and profitable company off in my opinion.

Of course, I must recognise Trent Barton and the tram's contribution to improving public transport in Nottingham too (until recently NCT was one of the consortium involved in the running of the tram).
 

anthony263

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Newport bus are certainly safe for a bit in fact they seem to be expanding and taking on the other operators such as Stagecoach.

Cardiff Bus are also doing similar in fact they recently won a brief bus war against St Davids Travel (A.K.A the Bumble bee buses owned by Mr Clayton Jones) Cardiff Bus and Stagecoach are facing some competition from First and New Adventure Travel on some routes and contracts
 

bb21

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I would suggest that Reading and Thamesdown both seem rather well established in their respective markets and should be fairly secure in terms of their own identities.

Reading Transport have actioned plenty of investment in its fleet in recent years. You don't do that without a sound financial footing.
 

90019

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Lothian Buses in Edinburgh are very determined and focused on providing a higher level of service than the generic transport groups (they constantly win awards), even with the tram fiasco in the city. They faced really intense competition from First back in 2000 - 2005 with all sorts of sneaky tricks and they essentially won the bus war. The King of municipals.

Lothian is very safe, and there is very little chance of the company being sold off anytime soon, particularly as the trams were handed over to Lothian recently - meaning that whilst we're being used to prop it up, the council won't want to see it going into private hands.

Lothian were the Top City Operator in the UK Bus Awards 2011, and were runner up for the UK Bus Operator of the Year.
 

Ivo

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Lothian were the Top City Operator in the UK Bus Awards 2011, and were runner up for the UK Bus Operator of the Year.

So a 1-2 for municipal concerns, with Thamesdown having won? Given how few of them there one would be under the impression that they are doing something that the "big boys" (well, maybe not Go-Ahead) aren't doing. They could learn a thing or two by spending an afternoon observing these guys.
 

Mutant Lemming

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Actually they ALL seem to be doing well, with ownership of local buses becoming a local political issue in Ipswich and Rossendale with the party espousing retaining the bus operations in local hands winning elections partly on that platform.

I just wonder what kind of pressure the current political climate of cuts will make on councils to turn a quick buck by selling off their buses ?

Halton have been doing well by expanding services far beyond Widnes but Warrington have made some quite marked cutbacks, in particular the virtual elimination of Sunday evening services. Warrington has won awards in recent times but if further cutbacks decimate the network even more then they look the most likely candidate to be next on the list.

In 1967 the UK had 99 municipal operators
 

WatcherZero

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I would still put Lothian on the likely to be sold in the next 10 years to raise money list.
 

radamfi

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Rossendale staying in public ownership was even campaigned for by politicians in Rochdale, even though Rochdale is outside of the Rossendale district. Rossendale is probably unique in municipals that most of their network is totally outside the council area, with Rochdale being their main area of operation. Nottingham's boundaries are tightly drawn, meaning that NCT buses operate far outside that boundary, but most of their routes do end up in Nottingham city centre.
 

madannie77

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Actually they ALL seem to be doing well, with ownership of local buses becoming a local political issue in Ipswich and Rossendale with the party espousing retaining the bus operations in local hands winning elections partly on that platform.

I just wonder what kind of pressure the current political climate of cuts will make on councils to turn a quick buck by selling off their buses ?

Halton have been doing well by expanding services far beyond Widnes but Warrington have made some quite marked cutbacks, in particular the virtual elimination of Sunday evening services. Warrington has won awards in recent times but if further cutbacks decimate the network even more then they look the most likely candidate to be next on the list.

In 1967 the UK had 99 municipal operators

But surely the cuts in Warrington were as a result of Warrington Council cutting the funding for those services and were not anything to do with the financial health of the bus company.
 

scandal

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I would still put Lothian on the likely to be sold in the next 10 years to raise money list.

I am inclined to agree considering the financial debt that the City Council has been plunged into by the contract issues regarding the tram system. If it was to be sold, I expect that the tram service operation would be kept in municipal operation as a piecemeal offer.
 

90019

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I would still put Lothian on the likely to be sold in the next 10 years to raise money list.

Lothian won't be sold - you've seen the lengths the politicians have gone to with the trams to save face, letting a private company take over by buying out Lothian is highly unlikely. The Trams are now completely under the control of Lothian.
Anyway, Edinburgh council may have the controlling share of the company, but East Lothian, West Lothian and Midlothian councils all have shares too.
 

Mutant Lemming

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But surely the cuts in Warrington were as a result of Warrington Council cutting the funding for those services and were not anything to do with the financial health of the bus company.

As nearly all of those services were operated by Warrington Borough Transport then I am sure it will affect it's financial health.
Also with the council looking for savings and potential revenue to prevent cutting services then the possibility of a sell off would be even stronger.
 

WatcherZero

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Lothian won't be sold - you've seen the lengths the politicians have gone to with the trams to save face, letting a private company take over by buying out Lothian is highly unlikely. The Trams are now completely under the control of Lothian.
Anyway, Edinburgh council may have the controlling share of the company, but East Lothian, West Lothian and Midlothian councils all have shares too.

Remember Salmond has already tried to claw the £500m back by saying it wont be the full length, theres also an unfunded commitment to fund overruns as well as the levys on local development and business along the route not raising anywhere near as much as expected. The Councils credit card is maxed out and any sudden need for cash and it will be for the block. They also recieved two offers from private industry to buy out and complete the tramline in return for permission to develop their own expansions which the Council turned down, again as it would have forced them to repay the Scottish Government funding.
 
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