And the Senator also claims that a bus service run for four months last summer from the Elizabeth Terminal to St Helier cost taxpayers £5 per passenger.
‘We would have been better to pay for taxis,’ he said.As a result of his investigations the Senator will ask a barrage of questions in the States on Tuesday that he says will show many of the past explanations given by Environment and Public Services relating to the bus contract ‘fiasco’ were misleading.He is intent on bringing a vote of no confidence in the Environment and Public Services Committee over the way the bus contract has been handled and says he is looking forward to hearing explanations from committee president Deputy Maurice Dubras on Tuesday.There was much controversy toward the end of last year when it was claimed by Deputy Dubras that officials responsible for the bus contract did not know about a pay deal struck between the Transport Union and former bus company Jersey Bus prior to the decision being made to choose Connex as the new operator.This resulted in the committee agreeing to pay Connex an extra £187,000 to compensate for part of the unknown pay award.
But Senator Vibert now believes he can show that officials from both bus consultants Halcrow and the Public Services department should have been fully aware of the pay award.In a letter sent to Finance and Economics Committee president Senator Terry Le Sueur on 19 May last year justifying the request for the extra money, Deputy Dubras wrote: ‘The committee (Environment) is outraged at the conniving that appears to have taken place between the Transport and General Workers Union and Jersey Bus, in particular the complete silence of the union during this tendering process on the extent of the wage claim.
‘I have asked the Attorney General for his opinion on whether the union acted improperly during the tender process and after and whether there is means of redress.’However, Senator Vibert has copies of documents that he claims show that the bus contract consultants Halcrow knew about the pay claim as far back as February 2002 as a copy of the union’s pay claim letter was sent by Halcrow to Jersey Bus prior to bids being submitted.’There are a whole load of questions that need to be answered and I will ask Deputy Dubras on Tuesday to apologise to both the union and Jersey Bus,’ said Senator Vibert.In his questions he will also ask for confirmation that the summer bus service run by Connex from the Elizabeth Harbour to St Helier cost £43,000 but carried only 8,690 passengers – about £5 per passenger.
‘On what basis was the service run and why was it was allowed to continue so long while making heavy losses?’ asked the Senator.