Feeling the blues: Maintenance of
Bus Company buses costing taxpayer
over £30,000 a month
|Maintenance of buses is costing over £30,000 a month, the Government has disclosed. Indeed, the cost of maintaining the fleet of buses since 2005 has cost the taxpayer over £1.5 million.
This followed an agreement entered into between the previous GSD Government and AM Capurro and Sons Ltd. The provision of this service to the Gibraltar Bus Company was directly allocated to them and workshop facilities were made available to them for this service to be provided.
The Government is not criticising the company for pursuing its commercial interests. The criticism is directed at the policy of the previous GSD Government in this respect.
SPIRALLING COST OF MAINTENANCE
The Government has been informed that the amount paid in maintenance costs have spiralled from £9,142 per month in 2005 to £31,299 per month in 2011, as the vehicles have got older and require more frequent or extensive servicing.
The original service contract which run from 2005 until 2009 cost the taxpayer £736,314 in payments made for maintenance of the bus fleet.
A second contract which came into force after that, cost £793,651 for 2010 and 2011 alone. This is more than the previous five years put together.
A Government statement adds: "Before the contract expired in 2009, the view was put to the then Government that the provision of this service could go out to tender. However, it was felt that if the service went out to tender it would create operational problems and that it was best if the same operator was approached and asked whether they wanted to extend the contract. This approach
was to be carried out on the basis that the charges should be lowered from what they were in the existing contract."
However, instead of going down, the charges went up by about 19%. The labour rate had been £32 an hour effective 1st April 2006 and this increased to £39 an hour solely for routine servicing work from 2009. Unscheduled repair work went up to £42 per hour whereas before £35 per hour had been charged for overtime or callouts.
The new contract was agreed on this basis covering the period 3rd August 2009 until 2nd August 2014.
The amounts paid out in respect of maintenance of the bus fleets is as follows:
2005 - £109,704 or £9142 per month
2006 - £118,707 or £9892.25 per month
2007 - £134,413 or £11,201.08 per month
2008 - £156,359 or £13,029.92 per month
2009 - £217,131 or £18,094.25 per month
2010 - £418,063 or £34,838.58 per month
2011 - £375,588 or £31,299 per month
MISTAKE BY PREVIOUS GOVT
The Government considers that it was a mistake on the part of the previous administration not to test the market in order to establish whether the service could have been provided more economically by another operator.
The bus company cost the tax payer £2.3 million last year alone. Given the age of the vehicles, it would have made sense to have started replacing the fleet before maintenance costs spiralled.
"This reflects a complete lack of forward planning now synonymous with the GSD government, as well as their cavalier attitude to the spending of tax-payers' money," the statement says.