Next bus to ar­rive ... will be a new one

Rossendale Free Press - - The Rossendale Scribbler -

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

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