New contributor Geordie Lad looks at the start of an important session in the house of commons, today, and wonders whether the Omnibuses Blog Army might be moved to comment… Omnibuses welcomes contributions
The House of Commons transport select committee begins taking oral evidence today as part of its inquiry into the Competition Commission’s report into the bus industry. The industry has already been invited to present written evidence, the deadline for which was 17 February.
The P.T.E.G., the Passenger Transport Executive Group, wasted no time in publishing its own evidence to the committee on its website last week. The document makes interesting reading. Despite the fact that the CC did not recommend that quality contracts should be introduced, The P.T.E.G. still keeps banging the drum for them. Here’s one excerpt from the document:
For example, The P.T.E.G’s analysis suggests that if all bus passengers were to switch to pre-paid tickets, bus operating costs could fall by 3 per cent due to lower journey times and demand would increase by 3.8 per cent. Despite the obvious benefits, few operators are yet to adopt network-wide pre-paid ticketing, discrediting the idea that competition necessarily leads to innovation.Now those of us who are a bit long in the tooth will recall that off-bus revenue collection and pre-payment has long been one of the industry’s holy grails. We’ve not achieved it yet and personally I believe it’s a very brave operator who in the current climate decides not to accept cash. But even so, the Achilles heel in this example from The P.T.E.G. is the word “all” in the first sentence—forget the PR stuff in the second.
Is The P.T.E.G. suggesting that all QC schemes should be completely cashless? Or is the financial case for them so thin that they’ve got to make spurious claims for potential benefits that the rest of us in the former metropolitan counties know are simply undeliverable ?
The P.T.E.G. will be represented at the hearing by David Brown, South Yorkshire PTE’s director general. Hang on a second. Could this be the same PTE whose ITA chair said recently that working in partnership is a ‘better alternative’ to QCs? (i Link)
i The P.T.E.G. view
Geordie Lad – gannin’ alang the Scotswood Rooaaaad