Not much to say - but fbb will try!!
Of course, Queens Road reeks of municipal ownership with its grand facade and everything under cover.
Generally, the on-line reports of the "intended" sale replicate the First Bus press release which fbb will summarise.
First Manchester continues to advocate the benefits of a partnership approach in Greater Manchester to deliver faster improvements for customers. This follows the recent launch of the OneBus partnership ...
... which proposes improvements including; 450 new low emission buses, simplified tickets, a unified brand identity, improved integration with other transport services, joint bus network reviews and improved customer information.
Giles Fearnley, Managing Director of First Bus, said: “I’d like to thank our employees for their continued hard work to deliver the best experience possible for our customers in Greater Manchester. Today’s announcement does not reflect on the effort, commitment or individual performance of our Queens Road employees.
"You have all done very well!" Thank you young Mr
So it all look pretty straightforward.
But, so far, nobody has answered the question, "why?" None of the early press reports have even asked the question.
The usual rumours of "not performing up to expectation" combined with "difficult trading conditions"- which usually mean "we ain't making enough dough!".
There has been a suggestion that relationships between companies, the Mayor (Andy Burnham) ...
Mr Burnham is asking for a council tax rise - £7 a year on a band B property, the most common in the conurbation - to pay for a detailed study into the options.
And that's just for a study! Wait until he costs the"improvements" themselves.
It would also help fund a free bus pass for 16-18-year-olds.
“We are going to be the first city region in the UK to use the powers in the Bus Services Act of 2017,” the Labour mayor told a media briefing. “We have the option to improve buses through a partnership or a franchise approach. We need a better bus system.”
It is unlikely that a "London-style" funding and regulating system would go down a bundle with SOME bus operators. First Bus sold off their London operations to GoAhead (again!!) and Tower Transit. Stagecoach sold its London buses to McQuarie for a very fat wedge and then bought it all back for a much smaller wedge. Good deal, Sir Brian.
And the other challenging question. If First couldn't make its Manchester business work (or work well enough) what magic has GoAhead got that will presage a dramatic change?
David Brown, Chief Executive of Go-Ahead, said: “We look forward to contributing to Manchester’s community and transport."
“As a business that prides itself on looking after our colleagues, we hope to reinvigorate the Queen’s Road depot. We also look forward to engaging in open conversations with TfGM, stakeholders and customers in the Manchester area to better understand how we can create a sustainable and thriving service.”
The Queen’s Road depot will operate as Go North West, while a local brand will be chosen in collaboration with customers and stakeholders.
fbb has requested a list of the services operated out of Queens Road and will summarise the network in a future blog.
Interesting times for Manchester.
If you like the numbers, GoAhead is paying £11.5 million IN CASH.
According to the Proactive Investors web site, GoAhead's shares were down 0.1% by mid morning after the 0700 announcement. So no reaction either way from the mysterious men in grey suits!
First Bus also features in tomorrow's blog No 3001