BrightBus – with its distinctive fleet of 52 bright green high-capacity double-deckers – is to shut at the end of the academic year in July.
It comes as owner and MD Mick Strafford, 55, is suffering ill-health and he says now is the right time to end.
“The business is financially sound, so I will be able to reward the very good and loyal staff with redundancy payments, and will sell the vehicles.”
Ninety staff will be affected, and he says that he will work hard to ensure they find other jobs. He is also happy to work with other operators who want to take on the routes, but he is not selling the business.
He has already informed the parents, schools and SYPTE.
The firm, the trading arm of MAS Special Engineering Ltd, serves 32 schools across South Yorkshire from its North Anston depot, with 86 services, transporting 11,500 pupils daily.
All the work is fully commercial, operated as public bus services. The bus have all been recertified as coaches, with no standees, to enable them to avoid having to comply with PSVAR until 2020.
The routes enable pupils to get to/from schools where they are not covered by statutory provision, such as faith schools, or due to parental choice. The alternative would be at least one change on other bus services.
The services ace card is the use of former Hong Kong tri-axle deckers, Dennis Dragon and Condors, seating up to 126.
Mr Strafford, who aged 26 became an MD at Northern Bus, is one of the longest continuously serving bus company MDs currently in post, with 30 years service.
“Running the business is stressful, and in recent years we have also been hit by the reduction in concessionary travel reimbursement, the Sheffield Better Bus Area, and a decline in ridership from its peak of 15,000 people a day.
“To continue beyond 2020 will require low-floor high-capacity ‘deckers to be imported from Hong Kong, with a total investment of around £1.5m. So it’s the right time to end.”