TGM restructures business

Arriva-owned TGM Group has completed a restructuring which has seen it reduce its operations to 15 vehicles.

From 30 September it closed its London-based Hotel by Bus operation and its private hire unit at Heathrow, and north-east based Classic Coaches. It now operates six buses on a contract at East Midlands Airport, and nine buses from Heathrow on Transport for London route E10, which it won in May, returning to London operations for the first time in over a decade.

Also, on 3 October it sold its Heathrow-based Ground Engineering Services to airside specialist TCR.

The restructuring follows a long period of review, after a number of former TGM operations changed. In recent years its Harlow, Colchester and Stansted bus operations transferred to Arriva UK Bus subsidiaries, while OFJ Connections remains a separate unit. TGM’s Flight Delay Services, a travel management operation, also continues.

At Classic Coaches, the Annfield Plain, Co Durham depot is to be sold, with six staff retained until the end of the month to manage the close-down. At Classic Coaches, 42 staff are affected, of whom 12 have transferred to Arriva North East, and four to another operator under TUPE with contracted services. The remainder have accepted redundancy, along with the 14 remaining affected staff at Heathrow.

Classic Coaches was bought for 2.3m in 2004 by TGM, when it ran 95 vehicles. Former owner Ian Shipley stayed with the business. In recent years, lack of investment has seen age-restricted contracts lost, while National Express contracts were not won on renewal, and the fleet had reduced to 10 buses and eight coaches.

Now, Mr Shipley is negotiating to regain the Classic Coaches name, and is buying the 18 remaining vehicles from TGM. He is not buying any part of the business.

His son, John Shipley, now owns Jim Hughes Coaches, which he bought in 2012 after Mr Hughes’ death.

This month the business has moved from Sunderland to Birtley, Tyne & Wear, close to the A1, and increases from 14 to 32 vehicles. The business is being renamed JH Coaches, and the Classic Coaches name and livery will be retained as a brand. While some coaches gained the TGM silver livery, many are still in Classic Coaches’ red-based scheme.