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Hatts off - how will collapse affect local bus services?

July 28, 2014 11:54 PM

Wiltshire Council says normal service should continue.

Arrangements have been made with alternative suppliers to secure replacements for the local bus services currently operated by Hatts and Bodmans, beginning operation on the morning of Friday 25th July, and therefore resulting in no break of service. Due to these services changing supplier, a new bus registration is required to be submitted to the Traffic Commissioner for each service, and as these will not be approved for a few days the services will in the meantime be free to the travelling public, as it is illegal to accept fares until such time as they are registered.

The receiver has provisionally agreed to operate the Connect2Wiltshire Pewsey Vale bus service until 31 August in order to avoid a break on the continuity of the service, which due to its demand responsive nature would be more difficult to transfer at short notice to another operator.

The receiver has also agreed to operate the Salisbury Park & Ride contract until the 31st August, subject to legal agreements. The process to find an alternative supplier from 1st September is underway.

As for school transport, all schools have now finished for the summer. Staff in the Passenger Transport Unit will be procuring replacement contracts with suppliers over the summer holidays in time for the start of the new academic year. Around 1,000 mainstream students and 100 special needs students will be affected, but they should see no difference to their transport arrangements.

WC also claims that the immediate financial effects of the Hatts bancruptcy will be neutral as far as the council is concerned, though there will be costs involved in making all the new arrangements and finding new operators.

The council finds itself in a better position than the many people who are likely to lose money which they'd prepaid for holidays and day trips with the Hatts Group.