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Buses World News

In brief: Worldwide montly news & informations about Buses, Busmakers, Passengers' and the Transport Industry

17.3.15

COMMERCIAL FREEDOM * UK - The end for bus companies ... ???

* England: Bus companies fear end of commercial freedom

-- For the transport industry, the current push for devolution in the UK has raised fears about how this will affect the franchising of services and whether it could spell the end of commercial freedom for bus companies... Bus operators were dismayed by the devolution package handed to Manchester last year by George Osborne, the chancellor. Among other things, the deal gives the Greater Manchester Combined Authority the power to take over the running of bus services, setting routes and fares, an option it is actively pursuing... The UK bus industry, which has a combined annual turnover of about £6bn, is alarmed at the prospect of public sector control choking its commercial freedom and slashing margins. The concern is that if it works for Manchester, other authorities may follow suit and usher in moves that could lead to sweeping changes to their businesses... Stagecoach, one of Britain’s biggest bus operators, struck a strident tone last year when its chief executive, Martin Griffiths, warned that handing transport powers to cities could lead to a “confiscation of assets”...  Jon Lamonte, chief executive of Transport for Greater Manchester, said the new powers were a chance for the authority to improve services for passengers by offering simpler ticketing and joined up services between trams, buses and trains... “It’s part of trying to ensure economic growth for the whole of Greater Manchester and transport is a key enabler of that,” Mr Lamonte said... (Photo: A tram and a bus make their way through the streets of Manchester on February 26, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom) --  Manchester,EN,UK -  The Financial Times, by Jane Wild - March 10, 2015

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