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Saturday, 7 November 2009

Food glorious food

Well I ought to be 5 stone heavier this week having had three evening dinners out.

On Monday I had supper with the Master of the Worshipful Company of Carmen. One of our topics will be the subject of something I will tell you about next week. It’s a bit secret until then.

On Tuesday I was one of a large number of attendees at a very nice dinner at Cutlers’ Hall as a guest of former Traffic Commissioner Chris Heaps. Chris remains a huge supporter of high standards for public transport generally and also champions the need for continuing progress in his native South West.

And on Wednesday it was time to say farewell to my former co-Director Douglas Downie who left FirstGroup last month. Douglas had been our Finance and IS Director for UK Bus and was a wise man and great supporter. We presented him with a caricature drawing of himself with his UK Bus Board colleagues. It is not fair of me to reveal everyone but I have no problem of showing my part of it. It shows, typically me with my phone in my ear and trademark bright tie in my soup.

I have no hesitation in recommending the artist who you can find at .

Somehow in the middle of this I managed lunch with my daughter as well. You must think being in the transport business is all about eating - literally feast or famine as on many other days we miss several meals completely. Probably not the healthiest lifestyle but there we are.

We’re having a bit of a dust up in Dublin at present. Irish bus service licensing is still based on the 1932 legislation and getting a licence is a long and protracted process. We have just finished getting all the approvals for a service from Dalkey to Dublin Airport and the only problem is there is an operator, the Patton Flyer, there already, operating entirely without a licence.

He was actually offered a licence – sometimes in Ireland they offer to make illegal operators legitimate – but declined it. Now he is making a huge fuss as he sees us getting ready to commence operations and is describing to the media how this big international corporation is about to trample all over this small family business.

Well, we have no wish to do any such thing but Ireland has a regulated bus system, based on a 1932 Act which is a bit like we had here before 1986. Everyone has to operate under the same rules and over the years I have learned that whilst people can have their moment of fun by doing as they please, it is those who devise ways of delivering quality within the rules that survive and prosper.

And if the rules are bad – there are ways to get them changed, as Ireland will shortly demonstrate with its new transport legislation later this year.

Thanks for all your comments - your suggestions and thoughts are valued and (anonymously of course) passed to the appropriate people in the organisation.

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