Alder Valley hits back
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THE READING bus war continues. The local National Bus Company subsidiary has hit back, saying that Reading Borough's claims of profitability (CM, November 27) are wrong.
A spokesman for Alder Valley, with which Reading is in competition on its London-Reading express service, backed up Conservative MP Peter Fry's claim that the municipal service is being subsidised by ratepayers.
He insisted that Reading's 10 Metrobus double-deck coaches on the service were bought for £80,000 net each, and that once interest payments are taken into account this rises to £100,000 for the 10 buses.
Alder valley said that Reading claims of revenue of between £3,500 and £4,0 0 0 a week worked out at a total of £182,000, or £82,000 a year (£1,580 a week) after the capital cost is deducted. Wage costs, on Alder Valley's reckoning, are between £1,500 and £2,250 a week, and the company says that this leaves something between an £80 profit and a £670 loss before running costs are taken into account.
The spokesman added that the company is "keeping a quiet eye" on the Reading service, and said that it was hard for Alder Valley to reconcile the number of empty buses it noted with Reading's claim that it is carrying 1,000 passengers a day. By October 31, Alder Valley has carried 1.8m passengers on its Londonlink services since they were started in October 1980. It runs 27 coaches on the London link services to Aldershot, Bracknell, Newbury and Reading, nine and a spare being allocated to the Reading route. It declined to disclose how much profit it has made, but said that the service is profitable.