When a British bridge authority raised tolls by 7%, many people complained. So, the board conducted an inquiry which cost tens of thousands of dollars and must be paid by the future tolls!
Quoting a story from the BBC:
The Humber Bridge Board said in a statement: “Unavoidably, the inquiry created extra costs of almost £50,000 for the board, which must be met from current toll fees.”
It said the transport minister’s decision was unlikely to be announced before the end of June.
Humber Bridge Board chairman David Gemmell said:”The delay is a concern for the bridge board and, no doubt, also for the objectors.
“Nonetheless, the inquiry, and its costs, is an acceptable price to pay to ensure that local people and businesses have their voices heard over such an important matter.”
Let’s review the facts as presented in the article:
- The bridge authority raised the toll by 20p (about 33 cents in US currency.)
- Many people complained about the increased fees.
- The board decided to conduct a public inquiry to study the issue.
- This analysis came with a price tag of £50,000 (about $82,000.)
- That cost will have to be paid by toll revenue, thus delaying any possible decrease.
It is easy to shake our heads at yet another government blunder, but the situation is more complex than just simple incompetence. Note the stated philosophy of Mr. Gemmell: that this “is an acceptable price to pay to ensure that local people and business have their voices heard.” His belief in the supreme importance of stakeholder satisfaction is commendable. Unfortunately, the public is outraged because of increased costs—so spending more money to study the issue will only make the problem worse.
When management sees the need to make changes such as cutting costs or increasing prices, stakeholders must be engaged before taking action. Often, individuals may have creative suggestions that are only visible from their unique perspectives. Moreover, reaching out to employees, customers or constituents early in the process helps to build a shared sense of ownership. When it comes to unpleasant changes, practically everyone would prefer to advance knowledge over a having the change thrust upon them without warning.
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