Two former Rangers directors and their new business partner have clashed with another titan of transport in Scotland.

James and Sandy Easdale, owners of McGill’s Buses and £10 million funders of the FlixBus operation in Scotland, are embroiled in a dispute with Stagecoach, the rival bus giant founded by Sir Brian Souter and Dame Ann Gloag and now owned by German investment company.

The Easdales’ firm is partnering another German company, Munich-based FlixBus’, in its first foray into Scotland with its operation between Glasgow, Stirling, Perth, and Aberdeen.

The service launched in August with McGill’s announcing earlier this year the £10m investment to “massively expand the partnership between McGill’s Buses and international coach operator FlixBus”.

FlixBus claims it was told it “cannot be given any further slots to pick up and drop off passengers as part of their expansion plans” in Aberdeen Bus Station, which is operated by Stagecoach, and that there is “a conflict of interest”.

READ MORE: Greenock bus firm invests £10m in inter-city fleet

Stagecoach, which has a shareholding in the Scottish Citylink coach service, rejects that there is a conflict of interest and said it is focussed on safety around capacity.

Andreas Schorling, FlixBus managing director, said: “Stagecoach has an ownership stake in Scottish Citylink which is a direct competitor to FlixBus and operates some of the lines for them. There is a glaring conflict of interests when it comes to their management of the bus station.”

A legal adviser for FlixBus “has now intimated by letter to Stagecoach at their Inverness HQ that a formal complaint will be submitted to the Competition and Markets Authority should the matter not be immediately resolved”.

Stagecoach is now owned by Frankfurt-based investment company DWS, with Dame Ann leaving in 2019 and Sir Brian stepping aside from the board at the sale.

READ MORE: German investment giant wins Stagecoach takeover battle

A Stagecoach spokesman said: “There is an existing dispute resolution process which is available to FlixBus. 

"As the manager of the bus station, we have a responsibility to ensure that customers, staff and vehicles can move safely and effectively within the station. This means that we must monitor the capacity of the station and consider the impact on safety and traffic congestion when evaluating requests for additional departures. We recognise the duty to manage the relationship with all third-party operators in a fair manner and we reject the suggestions of anti-competitive intent. 

"We have endeavoured to have a constructive dialogue with FlixBus at all stages, including detailed discussions about how their proposed journeys could be safely accommodated within the bus station. We have suggested amendments to their proposed schedules to facilitate easier access to bus stands and we remain open to further discussions with FlixBus to address their concerns."

Elsewhere this week, business correspondent Kristy Dorsey has shone a light on Britain’s food price crisis in her four-part special series, which continues today, looking at the human impact and potential ways to tackle shortages and soaring inflation in future. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics put the annual pace of food inflation at a 45-year high of 19.1 per cent in March.

Business editor Ian McConnell looked at the policies of the Opposition as it postures towards a General Election, pointing to “a Labour leader who has shown he is certainly not averse to a dramatic U-turn”.

Also this week, deputy business editor Scott Wright reports that Cala Homes (West) has submitted plans for 300 apartments on the former Weir Pumps engineering site on the south side of Glasgow.