Bus routes which serve swathes of West and South Yorkshire in jeopardy as provider collapses

More than 250 jobs are in jeopardy and passengers left without services after two bus operators which ran routes across swathes of South and West Yorkshire collapsed on Friday.

CT Plus Yorkshire and Powell’s ran 39 routes across the region, but the hunt has begun for other operators to take the timetables on after services were set at 5pm.

A spokesperson for HCT Group, which owns both companies, said: “We have faced multiple challenges - a period of difficult trading prior to the pandemic, the financial impact of the pandemic itself followed immediately by the current surge in fuel prices and labour costs.

“Everyone at CT Plus Yorkshire and Powell’s - and across the wider HCT group - has worked tirelessly to put the operations in Yorkshire on a sustainable footing but there is nothing further to be done and the situation cannot continue.”

CT Plus Yorkshire and Powell’s ran 39 routes across the region, but the hunt has begun for other operators to take the timetables on after services were set at 5pm.

CT Plus also ran Leeds’s dial-a-ride AccessBus which improved transport provision for disabled people.

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West Yorkshire’s mayor, Tracy Brabin, who made demands for better bus provision a key part of her election campaign, was faced yesterday with an urgent scramble to find a new operator for the services as she admitted some passengers would be inconvenienced.

She said: “I’m disappointed to see CT Plus closing in West Yorkshire, and my first thoughts are with the drivers and other staff who will now be looking for work elsewhere.

“We are working with partners and other operators to limit the impact on our communities – especially those that rely on key services – and have put measures in place to maintain the AccessBus services that CT Plus ran on our behalf.

“We’re now working to find replacement operators for the remaining services, but it is inevitable that some passengers will be inconvenienced while this happens.”

Jordan Pickin, a service delivery supervisor at the Leeds depot is among those who have lost his job. He said yesterday: “Once I’ve locked up tonight, that’s it.

“My management have been really great but I haven’t really heard anything from the head office.

“It is what it is.”

Fellow bus operator Transdev has invited drivers to apply for jobs with them.

CT Plus and Powell’s have a depot in Sheffield, employing 60 staff, plus bases in Leeds, with 140 staff, and Wakefield, with another 60.

South Yorkshire mayor Oliver Coppard said the news was a “blow.” He said: “I know that Powell’s announcement of their insolvency will be a huge worry to our community, putting at risk people’s jobs, livelihoods and further undermining our region’s bus network.

“I share those concerns. At a time when operators are already failing to provide passengers with the services they need and deserve this is another blow.”