Stagecoach Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire is to purchase the bus services and 23 vehicles of Merseyside independent operator Peoplesbus.
The deal will see those, along with 21 employees, transfer to Stagecoach on Sunday 9 July. All will move from the Peoplesbus site in Aintree to the group’s nearby depot at Gillmoss in the north of Liverpool.
Included are all tendered local and home-to-school services along with commercial school routes and football shuttles. That work will operate under the Stagecoach brand and acquired buses will gradually be repainted into Stagecoach livery.
Peoplesbus Managing Director Andrew Cawley – who founded the business in 2001 with a Leyland National 2 that he drove himself – says that he is “delighted” to complete the sale to Stagecoach. Mr Cawley’s involvement in the bus industry began before that with a brief venture that courted investment from Sir Richard Branson.
“This feels like things have come full circle, as Gillmoss is where my passion for the industry started, with my father having spent 26 years driving buses from here and where I have some extremely fond childhood memories,” he adds.
Mr Cawley will assist with the transition to Stagecoach ownership and says that in the longer term he will consider joining Stagecoach full-time or continuing with his own business to carry out private hire work. “In the short term, a much-needed break is definitely on the cards,” he explains.
Stagecoach Merseyside, Cheshire and South Lancashire Managing Director Matt Davies has recognised Peoplesbus – with its distinctive light blue-based livery – as “a quality independent operator” and that the acquisition “is a good strategic fit for our business as we expand out portfolio of Merseytravel tendered operations across the City Region.”
Adds Mr Davies: “It also makes for an excellent bolt-on for our Gillmoss depot. We are delighted to be welcoming new colleagues to our Stagecoach team and we will be doing our best to ensure that they quickly feel at home.”
The Peoplesbus deal represents further expansion for the Stagecoach operating company, coming less than two months since it entered new territory with the commencement of former Arriva North West route 84 between Chester and Crewe.
Peoplesbus has operated Merseytravel home-to-school services since 2002 in a business that peaked at 32 vehicles. School routes continue to form the bulk of its work but it has operated public services for many years, purchasing a handful of new buses for those in the past.
The operator is also among the very few independents to have run articulated buses. Each of a Volvo B7LA and a Mercedes-Benz Citaro G have passed through its fleet. Both gained a ½ suffix to their fleet number in recognition of their additional length.