Metrobus in row with BTA over share

Metrobus, the bus contractor which evolved from Primesight two years ago, has thrown the already turbulent bus advertising market into further turmoil by capturing a large slice of British Transport Advertising’s portfolio.

Metrobus has won the 4,000 strong Badgerline Group contract, which accounts for about 25 per cent of BTA’s business. However, industry observers have dismissed Metrobus’s claims that this will make it the UK’s largest bus contractor.

BTA sales and marketing director Julian Macey is angry at the contradictory claims by the major contractors following the deregulation of the bus industry.

"We don’t need any more confusion in this industry – any muddying of the waters by our competitors doesn’t do anyone any good," he says.

The bus marketplace has been jolted by the aggression of the US giant TDI, which took over LTA’s Underground contracts last year. In December LTA announced that it had also taken a raft of contracts from BTA, giving it control "as of today" of more than 25 per cent of the UK market.

Macey says this is not true. In an attempt to clarify the picture, BTA is issuing an up-to-date schedule this week showing when existing contracts expire.

Meanwhile, specialists have complained that the fragmenting bus market will discourage buyers. "It’s an absolute nightmare to try and plan ahead while they don’t co-operate. There’s a danger that the bus market will suffer because of it," says Concord managing director Alan Simmons.

* LTA is donating 100,000 of space on London buses to a six week campaign to raise awareness of child abuse, starting on January 10.

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