News Releases

Stagecoach completes acquisition of Preston Bus

23 Jan 2009

  • Employee shareholders approve sale to Stagecoach
  • More integrated network, high frequency services and good value fares
  • Passengers benefit from inter-availability of multi-journey tickets
  • Two-year no compulsory redundancy pledge to driving and engineering staff

Stagecoach, one of the UK’s biggest bus operators, today (23 January 2009) confirmed that it has completed the acquisition of Preston Bus Limited (“Preston Bus”) for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition was approved by employee shareholders of Preston Bus on 22 January and completed today.

Preston Bus, which has around 300 employees and a fleet of around 120 vehicles, operates out of a depot at Deepdale Road, Preston. It operates on 14 key routes in Preston and South Ribble and the annual turnover of the business is around £11 million.

Stagecoach already operates around 160 vehicles in the Preston, Chorley and Fylde areas.

The Preston Bus operations will become part of Stagecoach North West, headed by Managing Director Chris Bowles, which employs a total of 1,400 people and operates around 530 buses throughout Lancashire and Cumbria.

Bus passengers will benefit from plans for a more integrated network on all main corridors with the merger of the two operations, both of which have high quality low-floor bus fleets.

Plans are in place to simplify fares and ticket ranges from next month, bringing lower cost bus travel for many people.  Customers will also benefit from the inter-availability of day and multi journey tickets on Stagecoach and Preston Bus services from Sunday 25 January, allowing access to the whole Preston bus network.

Stagecoach has confirmed that, while there will be some changes to management and administration roles as part of the acquisition, it has given a two-year no compulsory redundancies commitment to driving and engineering staff.

Les Warneford, Managing Director, Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “Stagecoach has a long tradition of operating high quality bus services for people in Preston and Lancashire.

“We are delighted to have acquired Preston Bus, which is a well-run business that is an excellent fit with our existing operations. We will be looking to build on the strengths and goodwill of the company to give local people access to a more integrated, sustainable, comprehensive, high-quality and affordable bus network.

“In the past two years alone, we have invested around £4 million in improving bus services in Preston by introducing new vehicles, expanded high frequency services, better value travel and improved links into our wider bus network in the North West.

"While there will inevitably be some changes for our employees and for some of our passengers, we look forward to working with staff and other local stakeholders to attract more people to the benefits of greener, smarter bus travel."

Peter Bell, Managing Director, Preston Bus Limited, said: “I am proud of the contribution Preston Bus and its employees have made in serving the local community over many years.

“The company faced an uncertain future as a result of the current economic climate and legislative changes, including the new Transport Act, the Government’s plan to change the fuel tax arrangements for bus operators, and suggestions that operators should not be fully reimbursed for carrying customers with concessionary bus passes. All of these issues could have seriously undermined the business and, as a result, the Directors decided it was in the best interests of employees and the business to approach potential purchasers.

“We are pleased to have sold the business to Stagecoach, which offered the best opportunities for our staff. This is a positive move which will ensure the continued delivery of high-quality bus services to the people of Preston under new ownership.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Steve Stewart, Director of Corporate Communications, Stagecoach Group
T: 01738 442111 (office) or 07764 774680 (mobile)
E:steven.stewart@stagecoachgroup.com

Notes to editors

Stagecoach

Stagecoach, which has won a clutch of awards for its innovation, high operational standards and excellent customer service, operates more than 7,000 buses in around 100 towns and cities in the UK from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to the south-west of England. Stagecoach North West carries 42 million passengers a year on more than 170 bus routes in Lancashire, Cumbria and adjoining counties.

Preston Bus Limited

Preston Bus was formed as a company in 1986 to take over Preston Borough Council's Transport Department. The origins of the Company can be traced back to 1879 when horse trams were introduced by the Preston Tramway Company under the sanctions of Preston Corporation. In 1904 the arrangement changed when Preston Corporation introduced its own electric trams. In 1993, Preston Bus employees purchased the business from Preston Council.