37 Hits Headlines

The furore over free transport and Stroud’s service 37 as featured on this Blog on 2 June, 27 May and 20 March, hit last week’s national technical press, in a report that highlighted industry managers’ concerns right across England.

The Stagecoach West part of the report focused on just two main problem routes with particularly high numbers of concessionaires: the 41 between Cheltenham & Tewkesbury and the 37 between Stroud and Cashes Green, with the 37 being the one trade journal Route One chose to highlight most.

Service 41 at Cheltenham

Of both the 37 and 41, Stagecoach West’s MD Ian Manning said “We are delighted to be carrying all these extra customers, but just want to be properly paid for doing the job. I’m extremely saddened to have to reduce frequencies, and I will be making several more justified Additional Capacity Cost claims in the near future”.

Manning claims to be vindicated in his demands for additional reimbursement, stating that the scheme organisers recognise that his claims for the 37 are legitimate, something that Stroud District Council does not agree, leaving him no choice but to make the cuts he brought in from May. He felt that the scheme was “the most unsatisfactory and time consuming aspects of bus operation that I have seen or faced in my 32 years in the job”.

Stagecoach receives 44p in the pound for inter-urban and 50p for urban services. Are these rates among the worst in the country?

One of the reasons why Stagecoach Wales split from Stagecoach West in about 2003 was because of the then free travel scheme in Wales. This was way before free travel was considered in England (2006). Wales reimburses 73p in the pound.

The report did not give an opportunity for Stroud or any district council to comment.

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