Xelagroup is withdrawing from Yellow Buses services it took over

  THE company which took over Yellow Buses’ school services and three routes for the general public is withdrawing from the services next month.

Xelagroup, which bought the Yellow Coaches name last year, has blamed rising costs for the decision to hand back the contracts to BCP Council.

Thirty staff running its Dorset operations have been offered alternative jobs at its Eastleigh depot.

Xelagroup had won contracts to run the council-subsidised 18, 33 and 36 public buses as well as routes to schools.

Its green vehicles carried the slogan “Your Yellow service going green”.

Philip Blair, commercial manager for Xelagroup Limited, said: “Xelabus had taken over the former Yellow Bus council-tendered services 18, 33 and 36 after the company collapse and this was only for six months and then the routes would be re-tendered so they have in essence come to an end.

“Operating costs have dictated the decision to withdraw from the area and schools that have been served will finish on Friday, February 3.

“All staff have been offered alternative employment at our Eastleigh depot from the closure date and we have already had a number expressed an interest in transferring.”

The 18, 33 and 36 buses serve areas including Broadstone, Canford Heath, Kinson, West Howe, Christchurch and Southbourne, and are also used by students travelling to schools including St Edward’s, Parkstone Grammar, Magna Academy and Avonbourne Academy.

They were run for a short while by Morebus after Yellow Buses went into administration last August, but BCP Council then decided to award a six-month tender to Xelagroup.

Morebus is “monitoring the situation”.

Broadstone councillor Vikki Slade said: “I want to see that the 18 is picked up and in particular that the Broadstone ‘loop’ is protected.

“It’s the only bus that goes beyond the Broadway and out into the housing. That allows a lot of elderly people who live a mile or so further away from the high street to access the bus network. I’ve fought for it before and I shall fight for it again.”

A BCP council spokesperson said: “After Yellow Buses collapsed, Xelabus agreed to take over services 18, 33 and 38 for a period of six months until a new longer-term tender for those services was completed. Xelabus will continue operating these services until February 14.

“The council is currently completing a retendering exercise for a new operator for these services from February 15, and an announcement will be made shortly on this.

“In addition, Xelabus entered into private agreements with some schools to provide pupil-exclusive buses, and with St Peter’s School to operate commercial bus services which align with the school’s start and end times. These contracts end on February 3 and March 15 respectively.

“There is the opportunity for the schools in question to negotiate with alternative operators and potential options for pupils that include use of the wider local bus network, rather than dedicated school buses, will be explored with operators in the coming weeks.”

Bournemouth Echo | News