Examination of Witnesses (Questions 194-199)|
28 JUNE 2006
Chairman: Good afternoon, ladies and
gentlemen. We have one or two little bits of housekeeping before
we start. Could members having an interest to declare please do
Clive Efford: I am a member of the Transport
and General Workers' Union.
Mr Martlew: I am a member of the Transport
and General Workers' Union and the General Municipal Workers'
Graham Stringer: I am a member of Amicus.
Chairman: I am a member of ASLEF.
Mrs Ellman: I am a member of the Transport
and General Workers' Union.
Q194 Chairman: Good afternoon to
you all. You are most warmly welcome. May I ask you for the purposes
of the record to identify yourselves, beginning with my left and
Mr Waugh: I am John Waugh, Transport
Services Manager of the University of Southampton responsible
Mr Huntley: I am Peter Huntley,
Managing Director of Go North East, part of the Go-Ahead Group.
Mr Cooper: I am Mike Cooper, Managing
Director of Arriva Regions.
Mr Warneford: I am Les Warneford,
Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus.
Mr Wormwell: Good afternoon. I
am Denis Wormwell, Chief Executive of National Express Bus Division.
Ms Shaw: Nicola Shaw, Managing
Director of First Group UK Bus.
Q195 Chairman: Thank you very much.
Does anyone have anything they specifically want to say before
we start? If not, you will know that we are very concerned about
the decline in bus patronage. Why do you think that is happening?
Mr Waugh: Can I quote from a report
from the British Psychological Society, quoted in Local Transport
Today? They said, "Our participants [in the survey] did
not feel `valued' or listened to by transport operators and so
felt unable to bring about improvements in services". That
lay behind all our efforts at the university to introduce a service
over which we had better control and which we felt would offer
much better service to our people. Having done so, we have achieved
amazing results. This is not simply a question of the University
of Southampton. There are seven other universities of which I
know which are achieving amazing growth through their approach
to bus provision.
Q196 Chairman: Can you give us the
Mr Waugh: Yes, I can10%
increase at Bournemouth unilynx; 16% at Oxford Brookes, Brookesbus;
11% at the University of Derby Uni-Bus; UEA, Norwich, University
of East Anglia, is achieving improvements in annual pass sales
from 300 to 5,000 in a year, and 5% extra staff travelling by
bus; double-digit growth in every one of the past four years by
Hertfordshire's Uno Bus; never less than 24% from Uni-Link, Southampton;
and 60% revenue growth in Staffordshire University's Bakerbus
X1 service run in conjunction with Central Trains. Where organisations
are getting a grip on this and providing a service people will
Q197 Chairman: Just as a matter of
interest, did you have difficulty setting it up in the first place
because you were not getting the co-operation of the companies?
Mr Waugh: Yes, we had huge difficulties.
We failed on two occasions. Our first effort was to sign up to
a three-year deal with First Southampton, and in that period of
time this lack of involvement and lack of responsiveness that
our students had experienced was treated on to us at the same
time. We received little interest in our requirements and the
services continued to decline although we were providing large
amounts of business for the company. At the end of the three-year
contract we moved on to provide a service with a smaller operator,
Minerva Accord, not a main-line bus operator by any means but
an operation with which we could do business, and in the first
two years the attitudes from the original bus company were transported
into our own sub-contracted operation. It was not until we forced
them to appoint George Fair, who sits behind me, to manage the
operation, who shared our ideals, that we continued on our upward
path. It was a very difficult five years until we got what we
Q198 Chairman: That is very interesting,
Mr Waugh. I wanted to ask you one other question about financing.
You got a Kickstart grant from Government monies, did you not?
Mr Waugh: We did indeed, and that
was for one of our routes.
Q199 Chairman: I was a bit concerned
about how long that was going to go on.
Mr Waugh: It will go on and on
because as far as we are concerned our service is improving all
the time and we are getting benefits, some improved revenues and