Author Topic: Biased Swindon Advertiser..  (Read 1530 times)

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Offline Terry Reynolds

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Biased Swindon Advertiser..
« on: February 05, 2016, 06:57:29 PM »
I have wrote to the council several times, about the two million they gave to the bus company they own, (have you noticed, the company this week bought 10 new buses for 1.5 million pounds),  after several attempts, the council leader sent me a 'formal' reply, via his politcal spokesperson, and said the money was given to keep the company afloat. Readers will have not failed to notice the shutting of 7 care centres, due to lack of cash, the lease  off, of,  all our leisure centres for the same reason, the would be lease of the Lydiard house etc for again the same reason.  To this end, I sent in a letter to the adver for the letters page, and asked what is going on and how can they 'play' with tax payers money like this.  I sent the email in nearly two weeks ago and nothing printed, I asked on Monday what was gong on and nothing heard.  Today the adver confirmed the remaining 5 care centres will now shut in due course, and Libraries will now be run by those who will do if for nothing.. So again asked what is going on, Nothing heard back as of yet, since 5 pm, have tried at least 6 times to log onto either the adver site or reply to an email I was sent, and put in a comment against a story on the news page, again blocked.  Is this the new PC Adver, throwing its toys out of the pram....I wonder who they support.... :censored:



Offline Phil Chitty

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Re: Biased Swindon Advertiser..
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2016, 07:43:54 PM »
Terry, last published accounts are year to 31st March, which were filed in Oct. They show £2 million sale of the lease on their depot to the Council.

Is this the 2 million you are on about? If so the Council are getting £293K per year in rent, which is a return of 14% a pretty good deal for the Council I'm sure you'd agree.

Cllr Renard was spot on when he said it kept the company afloat, well right in the short term anyway. Unless other changes are made that 2 mill certainly won't turn the Company round.

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Biased Swindon Advertiser..
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2016, 11:34:31 AM »
I agree with Phil.

Buying the lease off of a company that you own is just an internal accounting exercise. In the short term, the bus company gets a boost and in the longer term the council gets a return.

If the council want people to get out of their cars and on to public transport, the bus company will need more subsidies not less. People need a reliable and regular bus service, which would mean subsidising off peak, loss making routes. There is no point using a bus to get somewhere and then not be able to get one back later.

Whether subsidies are justified depends on whether you view public transport as an essential public service, commercial enterprise or an environmental benefit.

The true cost of providing a reliable bus service isn't measured, as the cost of providing designated bus lanes, bus gates, bus shelters etc. and the benefits of reduced congestion aren't included in the bus companies accounts. The tax payer is happy to pay for the infrastructure, so why not contribute towards the running costs as well?

Terry mentions library closures in his original post. The libraries don't make any money and are totally funded by the tax payer including the cost of the building the central library (£2 million ?). Why are we happy we subsidise some services and not others? Isn't the main purpose of tax payer funded public services to fill the gaps that the private sector can't or won't meet. If the bus service is 100% self funded and profitable, why not let a private company run it?

Is a library service more important than a bus service? How do the old folks who use the libraries get there - off peak buses using tax payer funded bus passes possibly?

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Biased Swindon Advertiser..
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2016, 10:50:13 AM »
many things, first the council actually owned that land at the new bus depot, so Im surprised they had to buy it back !!, money obtained has rent is also good as it can be used for many things. I did ask where the council got the 2 million, to give to its own bus company, but no replies, this, as you know, at a time when they have closed 7 care centres, have leased off nearly everything they did own, and now are trying to push services like grass cutting etc on to the parish councils to do, which will result in bigger parish precepts, and is just a back door tax rise.

You may also have noticed, the big announcement this week, from the bus company, that they have bought 10 new buses, at a cost of 1.5 million, to improve the services, which ,if you read twitter are a joke. wonder where the 1.5 million came from.. you couldn't make it up..

The fact that they had to give the company the 2 million, is a sign that they are not profitable or well run:censored:

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Biased Swindon Advertiser..
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2016, 12:38:08 PM »
The fact that they had to give the company the 2 million, is a sign that they are not profitable or well run.

Personally, I view buses as a public service and not a profit making enterprise. The fact that they are not profitable is not in itself evidence that the company is badly run.

It would be easy to make a profit if they charged pensioners full whack and only ran buses between 8.00 - 9.30am and 4.30 - 6.00pm, but it would become a business and cease to be a public service.

Children's centres don't make a profit, Libraries don't make a profit. Why must buses make a profit?

A private company could provide a profitable service, but it would mean cutting subsidies on unprofitable routes, charging senior citizens etc.
Why not go the whole hog and take the Ryanair approach - charge passengers for excess baggage, charge parents for pushchairs etc. How about comfy leather seats with more legroom in first class. Or take the Network Rail approach and charge 8 times the price for travelling during the rush hour.

My point is that if buses were meant to be profitable, the private sector would be all over it. Tax is a means of publicly funding services that aren't profitable or keeping prices low so that ordinary folk can afford them.

In my opinion, a regular reliable bus service is far more essential service than libraries.