There’s been disruption to bus services after the collapse of a major North Wales coach operator.
Around 320 jobs have been lost after GHA Coaches had ceased trading at midnight on Thursday. The company has made no official statement but staff are meeting with administrators. They were told that the firm was being closed via a brief text message.
The council said on Wednesday night that contingency plans were in place for affected services in the Vale of Clwyd. They they warned some routes may not run for the next few days – but free school transport would be given urgent priority via other companies.
In a statement, the council said it had been told that GHA would cease trading as of midnight on Thursday. As many former services possible would be run by other firms on a temporary basis.
They added: ”Not all routes will be covered immediately and there will be some gaps in service, as it will take a few days to arrange the necessary vehicles from other suppliers. Other bus services will need to operate on a reduced emergency timetable.”
At one stage, no public service buses formerly run by GHA were expected to run in the area on Thursday. But two key routes have since returned to operation – the X50 between Denbigh and Ruthin and the no. 55 between Corwen and Ruthin.
In Rhyl, Arriva will take over the running of GHA’s evening buses to and from Chester (services 11 and 11A) and a local service through the town (services 83/83A/84/84A) – but the latter will run only on a Sunday timetable for the foreseeable future.
SCHOOL SERVICES (formerly run by GHA)
Ysgol Glan Clwyd, St Asaph:
Llanrhaeadr / Brookhouse Mill / Denbigh: M&H Coaches
Nantglyn/Prion/Denbigh: Coastline (16 seater direct coach)
Denbigh Lenten Pool: Alpine
Denbigh High School:
Nantglyn/Prion/Denbigh: Coastline (16 seater coach)
Bodfari: M&H Coaches
No service from Llandyrnog (service no. 76) on Thursday
St Brigid’s School, Denbigh:
Pwllglas and Ruthin: Voel Coaches
Bodfari: Coastline Taxis (slightly later on Thursday morning)
Ysgol Brynhyfryd, Ruthin:
Cerrig and Clawddnewydd: Alpine Travel
Denbigh / Llanrhaeadr / Rhewl: Voel Coaches
Cyffylliog / Bontuchel: Williams Bala
Llandyrnog / Gellifor / Llanfair (service no. 76): M & H Coaches
Mold / Llanarmon / Llanferres: service no. 1 – Stagecoach, service no. 2 – Townlynx
Betws Gwerfil Goch: Coastline
Corwen / Gwyddelwern (service no. 55): M & H Coaches
Pwllglas / Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd: M & H Coaches (slightly later)
No services from Llangollen – bus starts at Corwen
All W S & N feeder taxis to former GHA buses will do directly to school
GHA was based in Ruabon near Wrexham, with 230 vehicles run from six depots, including one in Ruthin. The family-run company also ran services in Wrexham, Flintshire, Conwy county and Gwynedd and across the border in Shropshire, Cheshire and parts of Greater Manchester.
Its most recent accounts, for the 2014-15 financial year, stated the company had debts of just under £4 million. According to some reports, the company had been served a winding up order from HMRC and was seeking emergency funding, but failed.
Two administrators from Grant Thornton UK LLP said their immediate responsibility was towards creditors, but they would seek all options in an effort to save any part of the business.
So far, there has been no response to the news from Conwy council, but Shropshire County Council confirmed it would not run any school or public transport routes on Thursday, which had been run by GHA. Flintshire County Council said it was working to resume public services as soon as possible.
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said it was aware of GHA Coaches’ position and the threat of jobs, adding: ”We are working closely with local authorities to minimise any adverse effect to key bus services in the area.”