Published: July 31, 2022 | Updated: July 31, 2022

Covid challenges blamed as Yellow Buses goes into administration on its 120th anniversary

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Yellow Buses, which celebrates its 120th anniversary this month, has gone into administration.

Simon Rowe and Rachel Hotham of Milsted Langdon LLP have been appointed as Administrators of Bournemouth Transport Limited, which trades as Yellow Buses.

In a statement, the accountancy firm said: “We recognise that many people rely on the Yellow Bus network for all sorts of aspects of their daily lives and that for them and the 300 staff employed by the business this is an unsettling time.

“We can recognise this and want to reassure everyone that we and our team are doing all we can to ensure that the business continues to operate as normal as possible under the circumstances and continues to do so into the future.

“Yellow Buses has just celebrated its 120th birthday and so it is an unfortunate time to be facing this uncertainty.

“However, like many transport businesses, Yellow Buses has suffered from the challenges of the Covid period and the changes in lifestyle habits which have followed, with more people working remotely and some people still being reluctant to travel on public transport.

“All of this has severely reduced passenger numbers on all routes.

“This loss of revenue has had a financial impact on the business and additional factors such as the recent increase in fuel prices and the general rise in inflation has only made that greater.

“The directors have, for some time, been looking for outside investment or a purchaser to take Yellow Buses onto the next stage of its life.

“They felt that as a small independent business it was unable to handle the current challenges alone and hoped that by merging with a larger operator it would provide them with a broader platform from which to operate.

“Unfortunately, those negotiations take time, and during that time the business was coming under increasing financial pressure.

“Negotiations with one of those parties, a large national operator, have entered the final stages and we hope to be able to conclude within a matter of days.

“All staff have been paid today (Friday July 29) and we have secured sufficient funding to ensure we can make the salary and other essential ongoing supply payments.

“We have also had very productive engagement with UNITE, which represent many of the staff, and which are keen to help us and work with us to bring about a positive outcome.

“With its long history in the local area and its integral role within the community we appreciate that there will be a great number of people concerned about this news, what we would ask is that the community shows it support by using the services.

“Support Yellow Buses and crucially its staff by using the bus.

“Take a trip on one of the buses and let the drivers know they have your support.

“Show them just how important this service is to everyone.

“We will of course keep the staff and customers updated over the coming days.”

Yellow Buses operates a fleet of 110 buses while Yellow Coaches has 16 coaches and mini-coaches.

The company carries just under 14m passengers a year.

Its vehicles operate nearly five million miles annually across Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, East Dorset and West Hampshire.

Yellow Buses is the south coast’s largest independent bus and coach operator, having been acquired from French transport group, RATP, in July 2019 by its management.

The company made a pre-tax profit of £591,000 in the year to March 31, 2021, compared with a pre-tax loss of £2.656m in the previous 15 months.