Bus depot ownership delays Guernsey transport policy

Deputy Peter Sirett Deputy Sirett said there had been no clear direction from the States on what kind of strategy it wanted

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The private ownership of Guernsey's only bus depot is holding back a new road transport strategy, according to the island's Environment Department.

In a report published earlier, the department said it would be unable to tender the bus contract competitively when it expires in January.

Environment Minister Peter Sirett said: "The key factor... is the absence of dedicated premises."

Island Coachways operates the current service from its Les Banques depot.

Deputy Sirett said: "Regardless of how good the current provider might be, the fact that the States is beholden to the ongoing goodwill or co-operation of a single company... is unsatisfactory, if not unacceptable."

The department will formally ask the States to acknowledge the problem at a meeting on 30 November.

'Absence of direction'

It then proposes to "quantify the land requirements to accommodate the bus fleet required to deliver services over the next 20 years".

The report said the States has "a window of opportunity over the next two to three years to identify a site".

In the meantime, the department is suggesting a rolling 12-month contract.

A spokesperson for Island Coachways said it had not seen the finished report and could not yet comment.

Having been charged with presenting a new strategy, the Environment Department said it would instead ask politicians for more guidance.

Deputy Sirett said the department had been working in the "absence of clear direction from the States in terms of outcome, rate of change or policy acceptability".

The report contains a wide range of possible policy proposals including the introduction of paid parking, vehicle testing along the lines of the UK's MOT and duty free fuel for motorbikes.

Politicians will be asked to instruct the department to consult further, in order to formulate more closely defined policies.

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