We are concerned that Quality Contracts “would need considerable additional funding for contracting which is unlikely to be available in the near future. We consider the approach by Metro in gaining funding from the existing profits of the bus operators would threaten the re-investment in the industry locally. We fear more cheap and nasty operators would be contracted to keep costs down”This quote is from the Campaign for Better Transport’s West Yorkshire group, whose view, unlike the West Yorkshire ITA, comes out in favour of partnerships, not contracts. The quote nevertheless struck me as interesting.
What they are saying is that franchising would effectively cost more. They may be right. I don’t know West Yorkshire well enough to comment. But, playing devil’s advocate for a minute, should QCs actually cost more?
We know they’re costly in London. This is as much to do with recent capital investment in new buses and an insistence on high frequencies, even in parts of London that are out of centre.
Might it be different elsewhere? By
- Illuminating costly and wasteful competition
- Ensuring frequencies are adequate and not excessive and
- Passing the scheduling expertise from operator (where it wouldn’t be needed) to authority (where it would)...
2. Cheap & Nasty Operators
There’s been much Omnibuses debate about whether Trent Barton, often aligned with quality, need worry about lower cost competition. But, don’t lower cost operations give people choice and reduce fares? In a competitive situation, it may not always last but it does have a role, especially where fares are perceived as high. Might it also have a more long-term role in a QC?