In the midst of difficult times for the Welsh bus sector, Denbighshire County Council is exploring whether setting up its own bus operation would help overcome difficulties caused by GHA Coaches’ demise.
The authority found new operators for schools and local bus contracts when GHA went into administration in July.
David Smith, lead member for public realm, suggested to cabinet members that ‘nursery funding’ could be sought from the Welsh Government to establish an alternative model for strategic rural bus routes. Solutions could include ‘the council operating services directly’, leasing vehicles to community groups, a community car scheme or a hybrid of these.
He said replacement contracts for schools transport were the only medium-term option, adding: ‘Longer term, the council could, for example, consider again operating its own fleet.’
The cabinet was also told this week that fully replacing the former GHA contracts would cost an additional £280,000 for the rest of this financial year. Instead the authority has chosen to procure reduced local bus services, which cost an additional £33,000 for the rest of this financial year.
A report to cabinet said the Welsh Government had offered some financial assistance.
Cabinet members decided to ask the Government for help with its replacement GHA schools transport contracts, which are incurring an unplanned additional expenditure of £175,000 for the rest of this financial year, rising to £275,000 for the full 2017-18 financial year.