HCT Group Yorkshire operations see immediate closure

CT Plus Yorkshire and Powell’s Bus – both part of the HCT Group – will end all services at 1700hrs on Friday 5 August “with a view to entering administration.”

The news represents a rapid deterioration from the previously stated position for the two businesses that was announced to staff by HCT two days earlier. It called for an orderly return of contracted services to commissioning bodies with a view to transferring as many of them, and staff, to new operators.

However, HCT Group now says that it sees “no alternative other than immediate closure” of both businesses in Yorkshire in what “is a very sad day for us all,” comments Group Chief Executive Lynn McLelland. She has reiterated previous comments by the parent company that despite much work to stabilise both operations, “there is nothing further to be done.”

Adds Ms McLelland: “I am deeply sorry that this is the outcome that we all face.”

HCT hopes that both Metro in West Yorkshire, and the South Yorkshire Combined Authority, can “identify new operators for our services,” although it accepts that the sudden closure will create disruption for customers “and distress for our team as this process works itself through.”

The transport social enterprise earlier said that its Yorkshire operations had been in difficulty for some time and had been hit by difficult trading conditions and the impact of rising fuel prices and labour costs.

PTE Metro quickly responded to the news about CT Plus Yorkshire by saying that West Yorkshire Combined Authority officers (WYCA) “are working closely with the company and other bus operators to minimise the impact on passengers.” Arriva Yorkshire had already taken up one former CT Plus Yorkshire route on what the operator says is “an emergency temporary arrangement.”

Transdev Blazefield equally quickly reacted to the development by noting that it is “discussing the current situation with colleagues at WYCA.” It has also invited staff of CT Plus Yorkshire to consider moving to Transdev, as has Arriva.