Bournemouth Transport Ltd, which trades as Yellow Buses, will end the operation of all services beyond Thursday 4 August after administrator Milsted Langdon was unable to find a buyer for the troubled business.
Yellow Buses employs around 300 staff, although it is understood that some quickly left once it fell into administration on 29 July. At that time, Milsted Langdon aired hopes of selling the business to “a large national operator,” stating that such negotiations were well underway with an expected rapid completion.
However, Administrator Simon Rowe confirmed on 3 August that no solution could be found, with “every [potential] buyer we spoke to [feeling] that the prospects were not commercially viable” owing to the scale of financial challenge.
A provisional buyer for the associated Yellow Coaches operation has been found, however, with National Express having confirmed that it is in “final discussions with administrators to purchase the coach and engineering operations” of that business. The PLC adds that it will not be purchasing Yellow Buses.
National Express says the deal for Yellow Coaches will safeguard around 50 jobs and the scheduled services operated on its behalf by that business
Yellow Buses was subject to a management buy-out in 2019 by three Directors. It recently celebrated its 120th anniversary, having started life as a municipal operator. Mr Rowe says that the lack of a buyer is “hugely disappointing” and he has thanked staff, Unite the Union and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council for their support since administration was confirmed.
After news broke that Yellow Buses will end operations, Go South Coast subsidiary Morebus announced that it will introduce additional services in the Bournemouth area from Saturday 6 August to “basic frequencies… using available buses and drivers.” It says that 15 new buses delivered early for other work will facilitate the release of some vehicles.
Morebus will also accept valid Yellow Buses tickets until 13 August within one of its fare zones. Despite the closure of Yellow Buses having been announced on 3 August, as of 1000hrs the following morning the operator’s website and social media channels made no mention of the cessation, although at the time of entry into administration it ceased selling tickets of more than one day in duration.
Morebus quickly invited former Yellow Buses staff to join its team. It will open a recruitment centre on Friday 5 August and it continues to offer newcomers with a PCV licence a £2,000 starting bonus. “We look forward to welcoming new colleagues and customers from Yellow Buses on board as we look to transform Dorset bus services for the better over coming months and years,” the Go-Ahead subsidiary says in a statement.