Group is ‘fully committed’ to the network; is in discussions over Ring and Ride routes
National Express (NatEx) is to take on most of the home-to-school minibus services formerly operated by Birmingham-based Accessible Transport Group, which entered administration earlier this year [miniplus/News/27 March].
Since then, Birmingham City Council (BCC) has ensured that the routes continued to operate until a new provider was found.
National Express subsidiary West Midlands Accessible Transport will take over the services from the start of the new academic year in September. BCC says that the home-to-school network is the largest of its kind in the country.
Separately, National Express is in final discussions with Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) about taking on the area’s Ring and Ride service. It has 12,557 registered users across the region and was also formerly operated by ATG. TfWM has kept it afloat in the intervening period.
NatEx West Midlands MD David Bradford says: “I’m very happy to be welcoming ATG employees into the National Express family.
“We are fully committed to the company. We’ll be investing in the service, including innovative technology for safer journeys and, most importantly, in the people. As a proud Living Wage Foundation accredited employer, we will of course be paying new staff the real Living Wage.”
Under ATG operation, home-to-school services were undertaken using Section 19 and Section 22 permits and drivers did not necessarily hold a Driver CPC card.
It has not been announced under what regime they will be operated in the future. In a statement, National Express says it is “working with the Office of the Traffic Commissioner in Leeds on short-term transition arrangements to ensure the continuity of these vital services.”