The boss of a leading bus company has stood by a decision to cut a number of routes around Warwickshire, reduce the frequency of others and to get rid of certain tickets.
Phil Medlicott, managing director of Stagecoach Midlands, was speaking on Wednesday, July 16, at the Warwickshire County Council communities overview and scrutiny committee.
And while he offered some hope to councillors who asked for a weekly child’s ticket to be re-introduced, there was disappointment for those calling for buses to return to places left without public transport.
Cllr Heather Timms (Con Earl Craven) appealed on behalf of villagers living near Rugby who had lost their service leaving many elderly residents without transport.
But Mr Medlicott explained: “I acknowledge that they were very much commercial decisions that we needed to make and was aware that the the local authority did not have huge amounts of money to plough in to support the things that we could not offer commercially. But we had to be honest with ourselves about what was and what wasn’t viable as a business going forward.
“I acknowledge that it is Stagecoach’s decision to withdraw some of the services and reduce some of the frequencies purely on a commercial basis. We needed to ensure the business was sustainable going forward. Quite a number of our routes were quite clearly just not paying their way.
“I do recognise that the local authority does not have the funding to cover all of the gaps but clearly I am not the ‘socially necessary’ supplier of public transport - I am the supplier of a commercial network.”
A change to bus passes available to schoolchildren had been unpopular according to other councillors and the Stagecoach boss said there might be further changes.
“It is not our intention to bring back the five-day ticket but we do need to look at the whole of our ticket range because it is extremely complicated and we will look at possibly bringing back a weekly child ticket,” he explained.
“What I don’t want to do is to give you a load of platitudes as to what you think I may or may not do as I walk out the door I don’t think that will be of any real value. I’d rather be honest with you and some of the things you hear might not be exactly what you want but at least I will tell you the truth.”