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The truths they don't want you to read....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bus costs

Those who see the good bus coverage we have in the islands probably do not realise that in part it is funded by the Bus Service Operators Grant which is a Government subsidy at a rate of 41.21p per litre, compared to the rate of 50.35ppl paid in fuel duty by bus operators.

Clearly this makes a huge difference to the viability of the rural bus services, and most particularly those where passenger volumes are low, but where the social need is the highest. It is one of the many essential services that communities require, but can never be justified in pure financial terms.
Bus Lewis
It is therefore very worrying to learn that the entire scheme is up for review under a current Department for Transport consultation which seems to prefer to make payments based upon passenger numbers, fuel efficiency of the vehicles and the installation of computer equipment on buses, such as GPS units.

You can see where this is going.....

The largest bus operators have the cash to fund this and back-office infrastructure to monitor and manage the computer equipment and make claims to Government.

Using passenger numbers will improve funding for 'rural' or lifeline services around sink-estates in urban conurbations, or rush-hour commuter traffic from dormitory towns.

Rewarding more fuel efficient vehicles is the only good part of this that I can see.

I know that the local bus operators can see the danger; but the end result is potentially an enormous funding requirement by local councils to pay for essential services where there are no alternatives, and not the cherry-picked routes in and around the cities.


Anonymous said...

I recall the local papers reporting sometime a tram system in the Castle Grounds. Hydrogen powered I think. Is this still a viable option?

With the recent announcement over hydrogen cars at the Comhairle why dont we get hydrogen buses too?

Anonymous said...

contrary to what has been widely circulated in the media - i think actually this might even have a chance on the mainland, as long as the petrol stations are a long way from city centres, thereby cancelling the effect of driving to the pumps for cheaper petrol.

a a macdonald said...

is that short one cllr i morrison?

Anonymous said...

if you are refferring to 12.09 - no it is L.s