'Bus firm can afford to continue town routes'

'Bus firm can afford to continue town routes'

'Bus firm can afford to continue town routes'

First published in News

A FRUSTRATED councillor believes Harwich should be given a fuller bus service despite the new routes not making a profit after uncovering a financial report.

Transport providers First claimed last week the routes in the town which will be dramatically changed as of September 1 because of the end of an agreement and funding from Essex County Council will not make them any money.

However First’s 2013/14 annual report stated the UK Bus arm of the company had revenue of £930.2 million, an operating profit of £44.4 million with a profit margin of 4.8 per cent.

“First has got the monopoly on bus services across the whole of Essex and they are making money,” said Ivan Henderson.

“They are making profit across the country and in Essex so have to take the rough with the smooth which is how public transport works.

“First is still receiving huge subsidies from the Bus Service Operators Grant and making big profits because if they were not then they would not be running services.”

First Essex managing director Adrian Jones said: "We thoroughly analyse all aspects of our network before submitting any registrations to the Traffic Commissioner, and making changes to services. “A number of the services we operate around Essex are tendered, and under contract to Essex County Council.

“However, this doesn't reflect all of the routes that we provide and without this support, it's not always feasible to continue operating certain services.

“We are working closely with all local authorities throughout Essex, in order to deliver better journeys for our passengers, while ensuring that we can continue to maintain our business in a difficult economic climate."

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