Epsom Coaches is to close its doors on 25 June, after 97 years trading, and at the same time its MD, Steve Whiteway, will retire after 37 years in the business.
It will also mark the end of the famous red and cream livery.
The move, by owners RATP Dev UK, comes as a surprise as the coach division, comprising around 10 vehicles, remains operationally high-quality and profitable.
It marks a change of heart by the Paris-headquartered firm, which is concentrating on its London bus business through its three subsidiaries London United, London Sovereign and Quality Line (the bus arm of Epsom Coaches).
The business, HR Richmond Ltd, will be renamed at Companies House as Quality Line, and the TfL bus and contracted operations which include National Express, Epsom & St Helier NHS and Atkins among many other local bodies will continue from the Epsom, Surrey HQ.
There will be a small number of redundancies in administration and finance roles, along with the loss of 10 coaches that currently run private hire and holidays.
With this change, all of Quality Line’s operations will be brought under direct management of RATP Dev London.
It means RATP Dev will have a single interface with TfL to cover contract and account management, tendering and business development and will also deploy best practice across all 10 of its London bus garages.
RATP Dev London operates 11.5% of all buses in the capital and employs almost 3,400 staff in its three operating companies.
Says Tim Jackson, CEO of RATP Dev UK: “In an increasingly competitive market, I’m confident that the closer integration of Quality Line into the RATP Dev London operation will enhance the company’s competitiveness and create opportunity to develop it further.”
Says Mr Whiteway: “I have always tried to ensure that Epsom Coaches is very part of the community it has served since 1920, actively supporting so many events, both in cash and kind over the years, which I will certainly miss as I know will my staff, most of whom will retain a role within the new company structure.”