Could the skids about to be put on plans to introduce bendy buses in the Isle of Man?
A joint report by the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure and the Department of Infrastructure is ready to go to the Council of Ministers for a decision.
But iomtoday understands that the report recommends the articulated vehicles should not be introduced.
If CoMin votes not to proceed with the bendy bus plan, the DCCL will have to find £300,000 of savings elsewhere.
DCCL Minister Graham Cregeen said: ‘A paper is ready to go to CoMin very shortly. The DCCL and DoI report has a recommendation but it will be for CoMin to make a decision.’
Mr Cregeen said that CoMin could overrule the recommendation – and approve the introduction of the bendy buses if the report advised against, or vote against if the recommendation was to proceed with the vehicles’ purchase.
Bus Vannin claimed that bendy buses would save £300,000 in staffing and fuel costs, plus £3m of capital costs saved in replacing older buses.
But there has been public concern about their reliability and safety on school services, given there would be standing room only for up to 90 children.
Highways director Richard Pearson has questioned their suitability for use on Manx roads.
Further concerns about safety were raised last week with news that transport officials in Malta have ordered a fleet of ex-London bendys to be taken off the roads after three vehicles in as many days caught fire.
Asked where the department would find the savings if the vessels are not introduced, Mr Cregeen replied. ‘We are looking at lots of things anyway - some more unpalatable than others.’
Those ‘unpalatable’ options are likely to include cuts to services.
The Minister said he did not think the situation in Malta was relevant as he did not know the circumstances behind the fires.
Meanwhile, Mr Cregeen confirmed that director of operations Michael Cartwright is no longer employed by Bus Vannin.