A quick trip to Bolton Bus Station after work this evening confirmed the reports that started to appear this afternoon: Maytree Travel, which has over 80 staff and operates around 40 contracted bus services in the Bolton, Bury and Wigan areas, had suspended all bus services at 2pm – with no guarantee of a resumption of services into next week. Is this the end for the fast-growing independent?
BBC News quotes staff blaming problems the company faced with insurance, but whatever the reason it appears that these have proved insurmountable. This week’s edition of trade magazine Route One (published this morning) refers to uncertainty and a number of contracts having already been surrendered and put out for emergency contracts by TfGM. The fast-moving story developed further after lunch with the suspension, the BBC quoting one member of staff saying there was “no point in continuing to run services because no-one is going to get paid”.
It will be a blow not only to staff and passengers, but also to fellow bus operator Manchester Community Transport (MCT), who agreed a deal to purchase the company last month for an undisclosed sum. MCT has done well in the latest rounds of tendering, having picked up some emergency contracts in Rochdale last month previously operated by Tyrer’s, and more to come from this weekend in South Manchester, including some former Bluebird routes.
News of replacement services should appear on the TfGM website and on Twitter as soon as other operators can be sourced. No doubt there will be some long coffee-fueled days to come, but the process should be relatively smooth given the practice that TfGM has had over the past few years, finding replacements for Bu-val, Coachmasters, Haytons and Speedwell.
Daytime services 31, 95, 96, 495, 512/3, 516, 525, 526, 527, 544, 551, 553, 559, 570, 597, 680, 714
Evening services 507, 510, 519, 534, 536, 538/9, 561/2, 571/2, 575/6, 583, 584, 597, 612, 622, 715
Sunday services 273, 534, 538/9, 576, 583, 584, 597, 622, 715
Update 5th April 2013 @ 1314
TfGM reports that all school services operated by Maytree will have new operators from Monday, and the first replacement service has been announced: Sundays service on 273 will be operated by Rossendalebus, who already operate the Monday to Saturday service.
Meanwhile, specialist transport law firm Backhouse Jones has tweeted a little more background on the collapse: insurance renewal issues and a possible last minute purchase by another party falling through.
Apologies for the lack of posts of late: there has been good news around the county as well, which we hope to recap shortly!