Bus veteran heaps criticism on Liverpool franchising plans

As Liverpool City Region’s (LCR’s) consultation on bus franchising closed, fresh criticism for the plans came from a former Stagecoach MD.

The Combined Authority has reached the conclusion that franchising would be the best option to reform bus services. Before moving forward with that, the local authority had opened a consultation on to see what the region’s residents think of the proposals.

Former MD of Stagecoach Group’s UK and European Bus and Coach Division, Robert Montgomery, who has held senior management positions in the UK and Irish bus industry since 1983, has criticised the plans. He says there is ‘absolutely no detail about anything beyond where the zero-emission buses will come from and, even then, there is only £252.5m provided for a new fleet which will cost around £650m’.

Robert believes if the government agrees to fund Liverpool’s conversion to a zero-emission fleet, it will have to commit ‘up to £13bn to do the same for the rest of the country’. There are ‘19 fundamental errors’ in the LCRCA Franchising Assessment, according to Robert. He said: “Most fundamentally, there is no detail whatsoever on where the more buses will run, how many additional buses and staff will be required, what they will cost and how they will be funded. There is no detail of how the development costs of those services will be met.”

He believes the authority’s assessment is not fit for purpose.

CPT responds to LCR consultation

CPT’s response to the LCR consultation stated that bus operators support the outcomes that the local authority wants to achieve: to provide an integrated bus system that makes travelling around the region quicker, cheaper, greener and more reliable. The trade body says operators want to work in partnership with LCR to deliver these outcomes regardless of the delivery model taken forward.

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