£2.20 all-day ticket for under-18s abstracted adult revenue, says Wirral operator’s Managing Director
Prenton, Wirral-based Avon Buses ceased trading without warning on Friday (5 October) with the operator’s Managing Director George Lewis principally blaming Merseytravel’s under-18 MyTicket for its demise and the loss of 30 jobs.
In a letter to staff, Mr Lewis says Avon has been losing large amounts of money for some time and that increases in insurance premiums and fuel costs had also caused the company to become unprofitable.
In a statement to the Liverpool Echo, Mr Lewis reserved most of his scorn for MyTicket.
He claims that the cut-price all-day pass, which can be used by all passengers below the age of 18, was introduced without consultation and led to a significant reduction in revenue for Avon. There is, he says, no requirement to show any proof of age when purchasing one.
Mr Lewis claims that led to “serious abuse” of MyTicket and that the volume of fare-paying passengers purchasing adult-rate tickets plummeted.
Many of Avon’s services were operated under contract to Merseytravel, including a small number in Liverpool complementing those within Wirral. It also ran a service from West Kirby to Chester.
To the rescue
On its website, Merseytravel simply advises affected passengers to seek alternative arrangements, although it is understood that both Arriva North West and Stagecoach Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire have stepped in to operate a small number of Avon’s former services. Both did the same upon the demise of GHA Coaches in 2016.
In 2017, Avon suffered criticism when it failed to operate a large number of journeys because of a driver shortage. It subsequently sold its newest vehicles, five Alexander Dennis Enviro200s. Its fleet numbered 30 at the time the business closed.
Avon was formed in the early 1980s and grew quickly after deregulation, operating both school and stage carriage contracts on behalf of Merseytravel’s predecessor from various sites on Wirral.