Owl says: Stagecoach has a near monopoly on bus routes in the Exeter commuter and rural hinterland – hoping the bus franchise is healthier.
But just another privatisation cash grab.
“Stagecoach says it is “extremely concerned” after the Department for Transport (DfT) barred it from three UK rail franchise bids.
The DfT says the bids for the East Midlands, South Eastern and West Coast franchises were “non-compliant” because they did not meet pensions rules.
Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Scotland-based Stagecoach, has called for an “urgent meeting” with the DfT.
Stagecoach had “repeatedly ignored established rules”, the DfT said.
Mr Griffiths said in a statement: “We are extremely concerned at both the DfT’s decision and its timing. The department has had full knowledge of these bids for a lengthy period and we are seeking an urgent meeting to discuss our significant concerns.”
Bidders for the franchises have been asked to bear full long-term funding risk on relevant sections of the Railways Pension Scheme, Stagecoach said. The Pensions Regulator has estimated the UK rail industry needs an additional £5-6bn to plug the pensions shortfall, and the company said it was being asked to take on risks it “cannot control and manage”. …”