Lothian buses up for sell?

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Lothian buses up for sell?

Post  peanutbutter on Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:24 pm

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Lots of Anger comments!


Transport bosses deny bus sell-off plan to save trams
Published Date: 17 June 2010 By CHRIS MARSHALL

TRAM bosses have denied that parts of Lothian Buses could be sold off to help bail out the city's troubled tram project.
It is understood that discussions have taken place about selling off the company's four depots and some of its vehicles, a move which sources believe could raise £50-70 million.

But the city's transport convener today said any such move would be a "non-starter".

It comes as a crunch meeting was held between tram firm TIE and contractors about the future of the project and the way forward in the dispute with Bilfinger Berger.

One source told the Evening News that selling off part of the council-owned bus firm was something which was on the cards as the bill spirals.

He said: "Selling Lothian Buses is something that would be hugely politically controversial. That being said, we are now in a situation where TIE is a cornered animal and cornered animals thrash around and react irrationally.

"They are so desperate to find money for the trams that things that would previously have been beyond the pale are now being considered."

It is understood that one option being looked at is to sell off some or all of the company's depot and some of the vehicles, leasing them back from the new owners.

The move would raise substantial amounts of cash, but would see the bus company saddled with interest payments which insiders said could lead to routes being cut and fares put up. Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, the city's transport convener, said: "It has not been discussed with myself or, as far as I'm aware, with the leader of the council. It's nothing to do with the Lib Dem administration.

"I'm sure people talk about all sorts of things about how they raise the funds, but if they come to myself or the leader of the council the answer will be no."

However, he said one option which was currently under consideration was to lease the tram vehicles, rather than own them outright.

A spokesman for TIE insisted there had been no discussions concerning the future of Lothian Buses. A meeting was held yesterday between TIE, Bilfinger Berger and other contractors over the project.

Last week, Cllr Mackenzie claimed the German firm was holding the city to ransom and warned the "ludicrous" position adopted by the company meant the local authority had no option but to terminate the contract if it did not change its stance.

Terminating the contract would likely mean a court battle and all work on the project grinding to a halt, setting back the opening of the tram line by two to three years.

A source said the council and TIE were now using talks with the contractors to gauge how serious Bilfinger was about trying to reach an amicable resolution.
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Re: Lothian buses up for sell?

Post  freedompaisley on Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:30 am

If they did that, they'd lose the last of the tram supporters in Edinburgh. After all Lothian shows how to run a bus company.

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Re: Lothian buses up for sell?

Post  Bristol LH on Mon Jun 21, 2010 3:58 am

Lothian aren't as squeaky clean as you may think. You should see the state of the buses they flog off. Knackered is an understatement, and they often need a small fortune spending on them to make them roadworthy.

There has been talk for years about flogging Lothian off, because Lothian isn't really making any money, and having to keep up with fleet replacement is a major drain on the council's ever tightening cashflow. If it isn't sold off, you will see a marked decline in the fleet,when there is no money to keep the company afloat.

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Re: Lothian buses up for sell?

Post  Paladin on Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:41 am

Ipswich Buses was in a very similar boat, hence why its being flogged off to Go-Ahead!
They were also regarded as being pretty squeaky clean, but like Lothian they only appear that way because they are competing with Wirst.
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Re: Lothian buses up for sell?

Post  Bristol LH on Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:48 am

Having driven more than one ex Ipswich bus, I can deffo say they are not the best maintained buses, and I have noticed on my last trip there, that many buses have had the CCTV on them removed! You can clearly see the plates on some buses where the cameras used to be!!

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Re: Lothian buses up for sell?

Post  DBS on Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:40 am

Have you any good things to say about any bus form Bristol LH LOL! I thought Lothian had one of the best Maintenance records out there, Oh and it appears the bandwith has been exceeded, so all the bloody banners say anyway!!
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Re: Lothian buses up for sell?

Post  Bristol LH on Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:53 am

Methinks the server is playing tricks. Having driven some ex Lothian Buses motors, and seeing a batch of their M registered Olympians looking absolutely knackered on their first days out in service with a new operator...As soon as they know they are going to dispose of a batch, they simply don't give a toss and start running them into the ground. Ensign are stuck with a batch of ex Lothian Dart SLF's simply because they are shot to hell.

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