I take my hat off to the now outgoing managing director of Cardiff Bus, David Brown, who resigned with immediate effect this afternoon. His sudden departure came as a Competition Appeal Tribunal found against his company, ordering Cardiff Bus to pay £93,818 to 2Travel for predatory behaviour which contributed to 2Travel's demise.
2Travel had attempted to claim £20 million, which included the loss of a capital asset, loss of a commercial opportunity, wasted staff and management time as well as liquidation costs, but the Tribunal Judges found 2Travel was deserving of £33,818 plus interest for lost profit and £60,000 for exemplary damages. The Tribunal said that 2Travel was poorly managed and would have eventually entered liquidation.
More importantly, Cardiff Bus was found to have deliberately disregarded the law and operated with 'cynical disregard' of 2Travel's rights. A large proportion of David Brown's evidence was also regarded as untrue.
The predatory action took place in 2004 when 2Travel entered bus service operation in Wales' capital city offering a no-frills service. Cardiff Bus immediately responded by operating identical services until 2Travel ceased trading. Cardiff Bus then withdrew its competing services citing an unexpected lack of customer demand and a driver shortage. You'd have thought that with the competition seen off, passenger demand would have risen.
The Tribunal simply did not agree with neither Cardiff Bus' version of events nor justification of their actions, and while not citing 2Travel in a very positive light at all, had to impose the fine on the larger operator. The decision to publicly brand Cardiff Bus' MD's evidence as 'untrue' must have featured strongly in Brown's decision to step down with immediate effect.
Yet in stark contrast in so many other corners of society, those at the top (earning salaries the vast majority of Brits could only dream of) seem to shirk their responsibilities by clinging on despite presiding over a situation that has affected potentially millions of people. David Brown's swift resignation will be regarded as right and proper - and he'd spent almost 2 decades with the company so he was hardly just 'passing through' - and the first step in the recovery of Cardiff Bus' reputation.