Talks around a potential sale of Arriva Kent and Surrey’s Guildford operation to Falcon Coaches have ended with no deal being struck. The group will instead continue to consult employees there about a proposed closure of the Mary Road depot that is expected to occur on 18 December.
Arriva announced the proposed closure earlier in October. Soon afterwards, it and Falcon Coaches jointly stated that they were in “advanced discussions” about a potential sale of the operation to the Byfleet independent. It already serves the town with a service from Woking through its Falcon Buses arm.
“Unfortunately these talks have not progressed,” says an Arriva UK Bus spokesperson. “We have informed colleagues that our consultation process will continue as we explore a proposal to close the depot. Our priority will be to safeguard jobs, where possible, through redeployment to other parts of our business should we proceed with the closure.
“We continue to work with our trade union partners and with Surrey County Council (SCC) to safeguard services for the local community through other operators.”
In a statement, SCC says it is “very aware” of the reliance that many Guildford residents place on Arriva’s services. The local authority “is therefore now working closely in partnership with other operators to ensure the continuation of all Arriva’s services without interruption and to achieve a positive outcome on behalf of the travelling public.” Further information will be released when that work is complete, SCC adds.
Arriva cited a long-term reduction in passenger numbers as the reason for its proposal to close Guildford depot. It operates around 45 buses from the town.