Ups and downs for local bus companies

With the price of diesel soaring and public spending cuts starting to bite in concessionary travel reimbursement, it’s no surprise that bus operators are feeling the pinch. Sad news reaches us that local independent Bu Val Buses of Rochdale ceased operations over the weekend. This comes as a surprise, as the company has picked up several contracts recently. TfGM are looking into replacement operators initially for their school contracts but presumably also for those socially-necessary services operated under contract. Meanwhile, neighbouring PTE Merseytravel will have to find another operator for service 157 between Rainford and Ashton-in-Makerfield, as St. Helens-based operator Fairway is also understood to have ceased trading last night.

One operator who seems intent on expansion however is JPT – or rather their sister company Eurobus, who have started operating additional journeys on service 17 between Manchester and Middleton using some low-floor single deckers that were new to Stagecoach Manchester. A reply on the official JPT Facebook page stated that the company “will grow through acquisitions” and that “the latest acquisition is Lancashire based and will be in our full control from 18th July”. We await further developments with interest.

And on the southern edge of the county, Omnibuses blog reports on news that the Dove Holes depot of Trentbarton will merge with Chapel-en-le-Frith-based Bowers to form a new bus company called High Peak. The new company is expected to take over operation of the 199 skyline service between Buxton, Stockport and Manchester Airport, but the future shape of the Transpeak coach service between Manchester and Nottingham is not yet known. It’s hoped the new operation will start in late-summer or early-autumn. Bowers are owned by Centrebus, who already operate into Greater Manchester under the guise of the Huddersfield Bus Company.

Meanwhile in Tameside, Speedwellbus officially withdraws service S50 on 15th June, with the 239 between Glossop and Ashton-under-Lyme partially replaced by Local Link demand responsive bus service from 11th June.

[Image credit: “P9063815” by Ingy the Wingy on Flickr]

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About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
This entry was posted in Buses and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Ups and downs for local bus companies

  1. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    You say that Bu Val ceased trading over the weekend. Were there any areas served by them that did not have any other operators services nearby and were left without any public transport facilities?

    • Shaun says:

      Wardle was only served by Bu-Val by the 456 and 458 services. Nearest services are just over a mile away on Halifax Road by services 454, 457, 528, 589 and 590. Parts of Smithy Bridge, which is served by 455 and 456 and Stubley by service 458 are without a daytime service, while some of the houses around Milnrow are without a service now without the 462.

      Does seem to be a worrying trend at the moment. Yorkshire Line in West Yorkshire, who only started in January, ceased trading last week, only a few weeks after changing some of the times on its services. Sad to hear of a operator going, but it does seem strange that Bu-Val went for the tendered evening/Sunday services in Rochdale and three weeks later, they’re out of business.

      As for what could happen to its services:
      *27, 95, 403/404, 484 could go to a number of operators (Arriva, Bluebird, First, JPT/Eurobus, MCT, M Travel, Maytree Travel, The Coachmasters, Travel Master)
      *406 could go to Bluebird, First, JPT, Stotts, Swans Travel or The Coachmasters
      *432 was talked about being withdrawn by TfGMC/GMITA later in the year, given that The Coachmasters run a similar service on 431, so probably won’t be replaced
      *433/434, 444, 447 evening/Sunday services might go back to Rossendalebus or to The Coachmasters
      *441 schoolday journey make goto The Coachmasters, as they run the normal service
      *451, 455, 456, 458 could go to The Coachmasters, Rossendalebus or First
      *462 was commercially run, and a large part of the route is covered by the 56, 58, 181, 182, 451 and 452, so won’t be replaced

      As for Fairway Travel, I would imagine it’ll be Arriva or Strawberry who would step in for the 157.

  2. Shaun says:

    TfGM have put a list of which services will taken over by which operator and when. The summary being that the recently won contracts in Rochdale go back to Rossendalebus, the Littleborough area services pass onto First, along with the 462, Maytree take the 95, Arriva get the 484 back and Bluebird take the others. Only the 432 is withdrawn.

    http://www.tfgm.com/buses/Bu-Val.cfm

    *27 – Bluebird – 26th May
    *95 – Maytree Travel – 31st May
    *403/404 – Bluelbird – 26th May
    *406 – Bluebird – 31st May (maybe possible that the service is extended to/from Middleton)
    *432 – Covered by 431, so withdrawn
    *433/434 – Rossendalebus – 31st May
    *436 – Rossendalebus – 24th May (as mentioned in previous post)
    *441 – Rossendalebus – 26th May (schoolday journey to/from St Cuthberts)
    *444 – Rossendalebus – 31st May
    *447 – Rossendalebus – 29th May
    *451 – Rossendalebus – 31st May
    *455 – First – 31st May
    *456 – Pioneer Travel – until 31st May (running temporary as commercial service), First – from 31st May
    *458 – First – 31st May
    *462 – First – 31st May
    *484 – Arriva – 31st May
    *791 (Middleton-Parrenthorn High School) – First – 27th May
    *831 (North Chadderton School-Thornham) – Bluebird – 25th May (afternoons only)
    *837 (Shaw-North Chadderton School) – Bluebird – 26th May (mornings only)
    *852 (Hollingworth High School-Stubley) – Rossendalebus – 26th May (afternoons only)
    *872 (Norden Way-Oulder High School) – The Coachmasters – 26th May

  3. Nicholas Lawley says:

    Forget that, wasn’t reading properly!

  4. Pingback: TfGM organises replacement operators | Manchester Transport

  5. Pingback: The Coachmasters cease tendered bus operations | Manchester Transport

  6. Pingback: Speedwellbus becomes latest bus company to fold | Manchester Transport blog

  7. Pingback: Maytree Travel bus services suspended | Manchester Transport blog

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