Next bus to arrive ... will be a new one
THE arrival on Sunday of the first of the new buses promised by Transdev after they bought Rossendale Transport from the council is certainly a positive, and colourful, sign.
The 464 from Accrington to Rochdale via Rawtenstall and Bacup is now a bright purple, with usb charging points on board and free wifi, plus the ability to pay with contactless card when you get on too. Around £3m is due to be spent on new buses in the coming months, while significant refurbishments are taking place too.
It’s good news, of course, for bus passengers, and Rossendale Council will be hoping such improvements lead to an increase in the number of people using local buses, which in turn will help justify the new bus station being built in the centre of Rawtenstall.
Transdev has already moved Rossendale Transport’s operations towards greater profitability by closing the Haslingden bus depot - a significant cost - and tweaking bus services in the hope that improved timetables will get more people on the buses.
But the bus improvements have come at a cost to the council.
It now needs to see the Knowsley Road depot, and is missing out on rental income and rates from the site too.
We still have no idea how much money changed hands in the deal which saw one of the country’s last publiclyowned bus companies move into the private sector.
It’s a deal which deserves scrutiny and the bright lights of transparency shining on it.
On the surface, there appears to be much that’s good about the deal, as seen with the bright purple buses this week, so which the ongoing secrecy?
●● One of the new buses