A BUS operator has warned that the credibility of plans for a London-style nationalised bus system is “fatally compromised”.
Stagecoach North East has written to the North East Combined Authority (NECA) – comprising all seven of the region’s councils – ahead of its crucial meeting, on Tuesday, when it will make the decision on whether or not to introduce a quality contracts system.
The company says it has analysed the plans by Nexus to take control of the region’s bus routes and claims NECA, which includes Sunderland City Council, accepts that an earlier set of proposals were flawed.
It further claims that plans are “shaky and unrealistic” and the public have not been properly consulted on a new set of proposals.
Managing director Phil Medlicott said that to proceed with a bus contracts scheme would be irresponsible and damaging to communities and bus services, while risking taxpayers’ money.
He said: “Next week’s decision will have far-reaching implications for communities, taxpayers and the future of people and businesses who provide bus services in our region. It is crucial the combined authority leaders make the right decision. Instead, we would urge the NECA to listen to the voice of local people and support the strong partnership proposal from the region’s bus operators.
“It will deliver fast and effective measures to benefit bus customers without the need for any financial risk to be placed on local taxpayers.”
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson, who is part of the North East Leadership Board, added: “All the issues are being thoroughly explored and people like myself, who will be there to make the decision, will make the decision on the day.”