Wales loses a third bus company in as many months

 

Wales is about to lose its third bus company in as many months, leaving two further local authorities to find emergency replacement contractors.

Lewis Coaches of Llanrhystud, near Aberystwyth, will close tomorrow {FRI} to prevent any worsening of its ‘financial problems’.

It held bus contracts for Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire county councils and operated a daily express coach between Aberystwyth and Cardiff via Swansea.

”Local
Lewis Coaches of Llanrhystud

Wrexham-based GHA Coaches went into receivership last month, leaving many Welsh and English local authorities to seek replacement operators. In June, Pembrokeshire operator Silcox Coaches went into administration.

Bus industry body CPT Cymru claimed that cuts to bus funding by the Welsh Government, at a time of rising costs and falling passenger numbers, put the industry under pressure.

This week Paul Hodges, transport manager at Lewis Coaches, said the company’s finances had been affected by a mixture of things, including bus operators undercutting each other. The reduced public funding had ‘added to the problem’.

Ceredigion CC declined to comment.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: ‘It’s always unwelcome news when any public service provider enters liquidation. Our discussions to date indicate that the council is very well placed to ensure that the vast majority of services are maintained, including existing school transport.’

The devolved Government previously told Transport Network that there would be no extra money for the struggling sector.  

He said the Government’s funding to local authorities for bus and community transport had been maintained at £25m since 2013-14.

‘A number of local authorities have cut their own budgets for service subsidy during the same period.’

Lewis Coaches operated several routes in the demand-responsive rural Bwcabus scheme, but Carmarthenshire CC has arranged a seamless transition to another operator tomorrow.

 

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