Go Ahead happy over smaller bus stake

IPSWICH: As the row over the future of the town's bus company intensifies, it has today emerged that transport giant Go Ahead will be happy with a small stake in the council-owned operation - for the time being.

Paul Geater

IPSWICH: As the row over the future of the town's bus company intensifies, it has today emerged that transport giant Go Ahead will be happy with a small stake in the council-owned operation - for the time being.

The Evening Star understands that Go Ahead is only seeking a small holding at present - to secure a stake which would place it in pole position if the whole company is sold in future.

Speculation is mounting that an incoming Conservative government could tell the remaining 11 local authorities that own bus companies to sell them as a way of raising money.


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If that were to happen and Go Ahead already had a stake in the company, it would almost guarantee it would be able to take over the rest of it.

And bus industry experts insist that of all the major transport operators in Britain, Go Ahead is among the best at retaining its local identity and local management.

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Go Ahead does not re-paint and rebrand its fleets in a “corporate” colour scheme like First Group - and its companies have regularly won “Bus Operator of the Year” accolades in national competitions.

However, there are concerns about the proposed sale of a stake to the company.

Go Ahead recently took over CityBus services in Plymouth - a move that has been followed by the threat of 14 job loses among administrative and maintenance staff.

However, it has guaranteed the jobs of all the company's drivers for the next 12 months at least.

Ipswich Conservative parliamentary candidate Ben Gummer said he did not want to get involved in the debate, but did not think the future of the 11 council-owned bus companies in Britain would be the main issue for any incoming Tory government.

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