Council denies putting depot future at risk
SWANSEA Council has strongly rejected a claim by Veolia Transport that it has brought the viability of the company's Gower depot into question.
Buses run by the French-owned company ply a number of routes in Gower and Swansea, and it is said to employ around 80 drivers at its depot near Penclawdd.
Concerns were voiced in yesterday's Evening Post by passengers and a former Veolia Transport employee that its operations at the Gower depot were to cease from May 21.
An internal Veolia Transport memo seen by the Post said it was not possible to continue with the business in its current form at its large Treforest depot due to the loss of National Express services and the financial performance of the remainder of the business.
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Veolia Transport chief executive John O'Brien said on Tuesday it was looking at its viability on a depot by depot basis.
A Veolia Transport spokeswoman said yesterday: "The company recently received notice of the termination of its local bus contracts in Swansea from the city council. This has brought the viability of our Penclawdd depot into question."
She said its drivers expected to be protected under employment legislation if the council re-tendered its contracts.
Swansea Council said it was "surprised and disappointed Veolia had taken a business decision not to continue operating contracts for the council".
A council spokesman said: "We gave them notice of potential termination of contracts in February as a precaution prior to the council setting its budget but made it clear that once the budget was known, it was the intention to rescind the termination notice of as many contracts as possible.
"Despite this, Veolia has seemingly not awaited the outcome."
He added that only one of Veolia Transport's nine contracts — worth just over £5,000 — was being terminated. The council subsidised its services overall to the tune of around £400,000.
"Following Veolia's business decision, we are in the process of re-tendering for the remaining eight contracts."