Stagecoach are throwing their toys out of the pram
This week, we’ve seen once again that a whopping 80 per cent of people in Greater Manchester want to see our buses brought into public control.
We’re fed up of private bus companies taking us for a ride. We’ve had enough of ever increasing fares, of routes being cut, and of private companies pocketing millions of pounds of our cash. And people came out in their hundreds time and time again to demonstrations, to actions at GMCA meetings, to organise events in their local towns and at bus stops - each time to call for better buses in public control.
Because of this, Andy Burnham is under increasing pressure to finally take the plunge and to end the free market wild west on Greater Manchester’s buses. It looks like public control of our buses is just around the corner.
While the people of Greater Manchester are thrilled - some private bus companies are getting anxious.
Stagecoach are up in arms about it. They are trying to take the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to court for a judicial review to stop our buses being taken into public control.
Why? Because they know that public control would put an end to the gravy train they’ve been riding ever since our buses were privatised and deregulated under Thatcher.
They’d be stopped from charging rip off fares and creaming off juicy profits. They’d be forced to deliver a bus network that works for passengers, rather than shareholders. And they’d be required to re-open vital routes that private bus companies closed in the interests of cost cutting.
That’s because if Andy Burnham brings the buses into public control, he could and should urgently set region-wide minimum standards and conditions to make sure drivers are paid decent wages, and exclude cowboy companies like Go North West who are currently trying to fire and rehire their drivers on worse sick pay in a pandemic.
No wonder they’re throwing their toys out of the pram.
All this shows is just how far the private bus companies are willing to go to protect their bottom line. They’d rather waste money on a court case than have their profits curbed so passengers can get a decent service.
Stagecoach and the other private bus companies treat passengers and staff with contempt. It’s time for Andy Burnham to reign them in and to bring our buses into public control.