HCT Group is seeking to terminate its operations in Yorkshire, the transport social enterprise has announced. It has blamed difficult trading conditions and rising costs for the decision.
The group has expressed a hope that the exit will involve all services at the CT Plus Yorkshire and Powell’s Bus businesses moving to other operators. The group says that it is currently engaged with service commissioning bodies to undertake those transfers with the wish that all or most staff can move with them to preserve employment.
“We are hopeful that an agreement can be reached and more information will follow as the situation develops,” the owing group says in a statement.
In explaining the reason for exiting Yorkshire, HCT says that it has experienced “significant difficulties” in the region “for some time.” They include difficult trading prior to COVID-19 and the financial impact of the pandemic period, and “the current surge in fuel prices and labour costs.”
CT Plus Yorkshire and Powell’s, and the wider HCT Group, have “worked tirelessly to put the operations in Yorkshire on a sustainable footing, but there is nothing further to be done and the situation cannot continue,” the parent group says in a message to staff.
The transport social enterprise purchased the former independent Powell’s operation in July 2018. At the time, then-CEO Dai Powell said that the Hellaby-based operator offered “significant opportunities for growth.” CT Plus Yorkshire operates a range of services, including yellow school buses on behalf of Metro, from depots in Leeds and Wakefield. It was established in 2006.