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]