Better Buses

South Scotland

At a Public Inquiry held Traffic Commissioner on 24th June SPT refused to answer questions on their actions leading up to “termination weekend” in November 2012 when they switched their funding from MacEwans to Stagecoach. During the morning session they repeatedly refused to answer questions about why the change of operator was handled in the manner it was they felt that to do so might leave them open to legal action by MacEwans. After lunch they returned and stated that they did not intend to answer any further questions. SPT were unable to explain their system of awarding penalty points for poor service; why they did not to appear to have followed EU procurement rules relating to the tendering process for a replacement operator in November or why the change of operator needed to be handled in such a hurried manner that Stagecoach did not have time to make proper provision for taking over the route. The Traffic Commissioner asked them to stay too listen to further evidence as “it would be all to the good, and sometimes the good is a long time coming, for SPT to hear evidence directly rather than through the bush telegraph”. At this point SPT’s CEO Gordon McLennan and Alex Scott, Bus Services manager who was its witness to the Inquiry walked out. The Traffic Commissioner has no legal power to compel witnesses to give evidence or remain at the Inquiry. Janet Moxley, would attended the Inquiry for the Stand Up for Our Buses campaign said “This walkout, coupled with SPT’s attitude at previous events just shows the utter, utter contempt which they have of the travelling public, the Office of the Transport Commissioner and of any attempt to scrutinise their operation. They have showed little sign of being public servants acting in the public interest, rather they appear to have maladministered a public contract in a way which has cost both passengers and the public purse money and not improved services. Instead of owning up and apologising they seem to be doing their utmost to cover their backsides.” Stand Up for Our Buses will be referring the handling of the 100 series contract around “termination weekend” to the Standards Commissioner whose job it is to ensure that public sector bodies act in the public interest.

Janet Moxley. At a South Scotland bus stop.

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