Go NE concerned over contracts
Following Stagecoach’s exposure of flaws of Nexus’s Quality Contracts Scheme plan last week, Go North East has expressed serious concerns about the risks and costs built into the Tyne and Wear transport authority’s proposals. The Go-Ahead owned operator recommended partnership working as a quicker and more effective way of improving bus services in the region. In its formal consultation response, the operator highlighted multiple flaws in the contracts scheme. These include: higher risk with local councils exposed to the danger of falling revenue, which it claims deepens a deficit which has to be met by local taxpayers; higher costs for fare payers and taxpayers; and inflexibility – Nexus setting up long term contracts which eliminate competition for up to ten years at a time, and which make it impossible to respond quickly to new public requirements for new routes or new bus technology.
Go North East MD, Kevin Carr, said, ‘Nexus’ calculations of bus revenue under the QCS need only be 1% lower than forecast for the scheme to be unaffordable to the tune of £11m. Costs need only be 1% higher than forecast for the funding shortfall to be another £13.3m. Independent surveys show that bus passengers in Tyne and Wear are the most satisfied of any UK Metropolitan area. Go North East has spent 26 years responding to what customers want – routes direct to city centres, fares that suit all needs, and branded modern buses. The Nexus scheme will freeze progress for up to ten years, increase fares for bus passengers in some areas by over 20%, and expose local taxpayers to the risk of fare revenue not meeting the cost of the scheme. The partnership proposal offers the service improvements that passengers want, without unnecessary delay, and will give Nexus the benefit substantial cost savings. It’s a far superior option for the people of Tyne & Wear.’