Greater Manchester funding disagreement continues

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is ‘putting a gun to operators’ heads’, according to D&G Bus’s Julian Peddle in the latest in a disagreement over funding.

Stoke-on-Trent-based D&G Bus has expressed concerns that TfGM is threatening to withhold vital funding unless operators agree to a new eight-point list of demands. In March, TfGM wrote to operators with 11 demands in return for making payments mandated by the Government and administered by the region’s transport authority. On 1 April TfGM had to concede, and the payments were made.

Since then, TfGM has written again with a different set of eight demands, which have to be accepted before the next month’s payments are to be made. Repeated are the two that operators found unacceptable last time, what D&G Bus described as an attempt to control the commercial bus network and the companies’ employees, while still not paying operators the full amounts mandated under the Government support scheme.

Julian Peddle,  a Director of D&G Bus, is concerned TfGM’s document headed ‘Principal objectives for collaborative working’ did not discuss or agree its contents with operators, or the Manchester region’s bus partnership, One Bus. The document was sent out on 24 April with a requirement for operators to agree to it, without alteration, within three working days. If they failed to do so, they were informed payments would not be made on 1 May. Julian highlighted the document accepts that TfGM has failed to adhere to the principles laid out for payments by the DfT.

Julian Peddle said: “Yet again TfGM has decided to put a gun to operators heads, rather than work with them. What amazes me is that having failed once, and being forced to back down, one month later they try the same tactics again.

“It’s sad they have time for such antics, and fail to understand basic human nature. No one takes threats lightly, and people and businesses react badly.

“You really do have to be naive to expect operators to welcome an agreement mandating ‘collaborative working’ when they have neither seen the document nor had the opportunity to comment, but perhaps the senior management of TfGM are so divorced from reality that that was their expectation?”

D&G Bus was taken over by Centrebus Group in December 2019.

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