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Western Greyhound Sold

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10:51am 11th December 2014

A deal to buy a Cornish bus company safeguards more than 130 jobs.

Western Greyhound had already sold its outstation in Liskeard to Plymouth CityBus.

Now we are told the company will carry on running 65 buses from its depot in Summercourt and Wadebridge.

Former Managing Director Mark Howarth is staying on as a consultant.

He says services need to get 'leaner and fitter'.

That will include a review of routes: "Obviously they will be reviewed to see how they will be taken forward but there will be new investment coming in, there will be some fresh vehicles, already today we've been talking about replacing vehicles so a lot of things are going to happen very, very quickly."

He added that he is pleased to have been able to safeguard jobs for staff:  "Not only that, but to safeguard the transport for people who use our buses. We've several million passengers a year and it's important they can still get to school, get to work, get to hospital, go and do their shopping and so on and particularly for the tourists in the summer."

Michael Bishop, an entrepreneur from within the bus and coach industry, has purchased the entire share capital of Western Greyhound.

Michael said: "I am so pleased that we were able to work with Mark and his team to purchase Western Greyhound.  The company has a very exciting future ahead of it and will continue to be a well-respected local independent operator.  We have identified areas of the business that would benefit from further development and investment to strengthen the commercial future of the company."

Mark Howarth said: "It is always sad to take the decision to sell a company that one has started and built up over a period of 16 years. However, we are all now in our sixties and it is time for new management and ideas to be introduced into the business. As a Board, we were all keen to ensure that we sold Western Greyhound as a going concern and that the jobs of our hard-working and loyal staff could be protected. The decision to split the sale was because many staff wanted to see Western Greyhound return to a smaller, leaner and fitter operation."

Western Greyhound said it had encountered difficulties in recent years with massive cuts in Concessionary Fares reimbursement, a horrific arson attack destroying 35 buses at its Summercourt base, followed by a further fire destroying three buses in Liskeard, and flooding and bad weather during last winter which severely disputed services.

Mark said: "These have been very difficult times and we apologise for any passengers who have been let down. We now move on and know that many passengers continue to support us as the small local operator and I thank everyone for that."

He added: "On behalf of the Board, we are delighted with both these deals which will enable Western Greyhound to carry forward into the next phase of its development. I would like to publicly thank our incredibly loyal staff who have worked so hard under often extremely difficult circumstances, and I would like to thank the public and, indeed the rest of industry, for their loyal support over the past 16 years."

Last week Western Greyhound confirmed that Plymouth Citybus had acquired its services in the South East Cornwall area, safeguarding 31 bus driving jobs and continuing to run the Western Greyhound timetables that are currently in place from Monday 8th December.  

10:51am 11th December 2014

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