Standstill Britain: Public Transport

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The Independent Online

Public transport service were cut yesterday. The North-west was worst hit, with transport co-ordinators warning that trains and buses in Manchester and Liverpool were likely to grind to a halt by tomorrow.

Public transport service were cut yesterday. The North-west was worst hit, with transport co-ordinators warning that trains and buses in Manchester and Liverpool were likely to grind to a halt by tomorrow.

Train companies reliant on diesel began cutbacks, with South West Trains terminating services from London to Paignton in Devon, and Brighton to Reading before their destinations. But other companies that use diesel - including Virgin West Coast, Scotrail, Thames Trains and Great Western Trains - reported no immediateproblem.

A spokeswoman for the Association of Train Operating Companies said: "We will be perfectly OK until the weekend but we are monitoring the situation closely."

Stagecoach, which runs 19 bus companies, said most had enough fuel for three days but restricted services would operate in areas including Oxford and North Wales. Tom Welma, managing director of Stagecoach Manchester, whose main depot ran dry, said: "We will have no choice but to start losing services."

Many bus companies forecast limited services for the rest of the week. Ipswich Borough Council said its buses would not operate beyond 7pm and similar restrictions were being considered in Cardiff. Black cab drivers in London said they would be off the road in 24 hours.

Mike Bartlett, spokesman for the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: "Most transport companies hold a fuel reserve of about three days. If public transport is considered an essential service then steps have to be taken to ensure that deliveries of fuel continue."

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