The row between D&G Bus director Julian Peddle and Transport for Greater Manchester over the conditions for funding essential services has continued into a second month, with Peddle saying that the transport authority is still making unacceptable demands.
“You would have thought in these trying times that transport authorities would try to work with bus operators to achieve the maximum service with the minimum fuss. In most of the country that’s exactly what is happening but as always Manchester has to be different,” he says.
“On 27 March, TfGM wrote to operators with 11 demands in return for making payments mandated by the government and administered by TfGM. On 1 April it had to concede, and the payments were made.
“One month later it has written again with a different set of eight demands, again which have to be accepted before May payments will be made. Repeated are the two that operators found unacceptable last time, 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.”
Peddle says TfGM has produced a document headed “principal objectives for collaborative working” but has failed to discuss or agree its contents with operators, or the operators’ association OneBus. The document was sent out on 24 April with a requirement for operators to agree to it, without alteration, within three working days, or it threatened that payments will not be made on 1 May.
“The document even accepts that TfGM has failed to adhere to the principles laid out for payments by the Department for Transport but makes no apology for its failure.”
“Yet again TfGM has decided to put a gun to operators heads, rather than work with it. What amazes me is that having failed once, and being forced to back down, one month later it tries the same tactics again. It’s sad it has time for such antics, and fails 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 is so divorced from reality that that was its expectation.”