Former Go North East boss believes Competition Commission’s inquiry has illustrated the contradictory expectations placed on bus operators.

On December 31, Peter Huntley stepped down as managing director of Go North East, one of the bus company’s accused by the Competition Commission of going about its business in ways that adversely affect competition. Now a free agent, Huntley responds to commission’s findings in an article in Passenger Transport.

Huntley offers seven conclusions, including his belief that the CC had already decided that it was going to find ‘evidence of collusion’ before it started its inquiry, and was simply looking for the easiest background to “sex up” the evidence to this.

He defends Go North East’s record on competition, stating that, contrary to the impression given by the CC, there were sustained increases in competition with local rival Arriva on a number of routes during his tenure. Meanwhile, he claims that the outcome of the Tyne Valley deal with Arriva that the CC disparaged was lower fares, more services, more investment and an increase in passengers.

Huntley believes that the issues raised illustrate our national schizophrenia on what we want from bus operators and he calls on transport minister Norman Baker to put this right.

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