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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 December, 2004, 06:59 GMT
Bus company sell-off under fire
A Yellow Buses vehicle
The council hopes to cash in with the bus sell-off
A decision by a Dorset council to sell off a bus company to raise extra funds has been labelled as "totally misjudged" by opposition councillors.

Yellow Buses has run in Bournemouth for about 100 years and is currently owned by Bournemouth Transport Ltd, an arms-length firm run by the borough council.

Its cabinet agreed last week to sell the company off because the authority cannot afford to invest in it itself.

Opposition councillors say the decision is based on "flawed" advice.

It is very disappointing that the council has so publicly lost faith in Bournemouth Transport
Conservative councillor Stephen MacLoughlin
Conservative councillor Stephen MacLoughlin has called for the council to spell out how passengers will be protected from price hikes and what will happen to the money raised from the sale.

He said: "It is very disappointing that the council has so publicly lost faith in Bournemouth Transport.

"Current competition may be a threat but Yellow Buses see it as an opportunity. It is a manageable risk."

The council says the decision is the right one - with jobs secure and with vital routes which may be unprofitable to the new owners to be subsidised.

Greater investment

Lib Dem councillor Adrian Fudge said: "As an organisation, the council is facing stiff financial problems and so it makes good commercial sense to offer for sale an asset which can bring a good return to the council."

A council spokeswoman added that the company would be able to better market itself under a private owner and would enjoy greater investment.

Yellow Buses is one of only 17 bus companies remaining in some form of council ownership.

The Transport Act 1985 required local authorities to either sell them off or transfer them to arms-length firms.




SEE ALSO:
Troubled bus service reinstated
04 Sep 04 |  Dorset
Bus strike causes chaos
06 Jun 03 |  Hampshire/Dorset


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