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GHA Coaches in Administration

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Sprinter153

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It appears that North Wales and North West independent GHA Coaches have gone into administration today.

Wrexham.com said:
GHA Coaches have entered administration this evening, with drivers being told they will not be working tomorrow afternoon.

We are told local authorities are trying to organise cover for tomorrow, however currently Wrexham and Flintshire have not yet replied giving any detail on if this has been fully or partially successful.

Shropshire Council have said that all school and public transport routes operated by GHA will not operate tomorrow.

One person who works for another bus company told us this evening: “We are in the process of organising some emergency cover, hopefully we’ll have things in place by tomorrow morning, I should imagine we’ll be working until late tonight.

“I’ve had GHA drivers coming into my office the last few hours asking for applications forms. Naturally they’re all upset, they’ve been told to go into work for 11am tomorrow, but not to drive a bus, just to officially be told they’ve been made unemployed.”

Several people who were on buses operating when drivers were texted the news have also reported information being then passed to members of the public.

One said, “The Driver just stopped the bus and said GHA have ceased trading as of tonight. I asked about weekly ticket holders and he said he did not know.”

GHA Coaches Ltd is one of the largest independently owned bus & coach operators in the UK operating 230 vehicles from 6 depots and employing nearly 400 people with routes across the Wrexham area, out to Flintshire, Denbighshire, Conwy, Gwynedd and across into England for Cheshire, Shropshire and Manchester.

GHA’s head office and central repair facility is located in Ruabon with depots in Ruthin, Tarvin, Winsford, Macclesfield and Shrewsbury.

We have contacted GHA direct, also via their communications agency, with the latter also trying to get in touch to get further details of the situation and impact on employees.
 
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childwallblues

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Quite a number of the services are to be operated on an emergency basis in the Denbighshire area by a number of local bus companies including Stagecoach.
 

Mr Manager

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I knew this was happening 2 weeks ago. I did pm a admin on here as i could not make it public. The debts are incredible. Cant say too much but a rescue package is being formulated as we type.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Wow - we've seen some big failures (Western Greyhound, Webberbus, PadarnBus) but this must rate as the biggest.

Firstly, a thought for all the staff both drivers and "back of house". Terrible time having to look for a new job plus the short term issue of being without pay presumably. Very very sad.

Also, hope the various local authorities can minimise any disruption though one very minor crumb is that at least it's happened just as the school hols are beginning.

Just hope the staff get sorted as they bear the brunt when these events happen.
 

headshot119

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I hope some of the other companies in the area pick up the staff and fleet and its business as normal for everyone.

I don't have great things to say about GHA as a company having been a customer with them for 11 years now. However the staff have always been pretty good.

Can't really forgive the management on this one, they have been warned repeatedly about the lack of certification.
 

Robertj21a

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Wow - we've seen some big failures (Western Greyhound, Webberbus, PadarnBus) but this must rate as the biggest.

Firstly, a thought for all the staff both drivers and "back of house". Terrible time having to look for a new job plus the short term issue of being without pay presumably. Very very sad.

Also, hope the various local authorities can minimise any disruption though one very minor crumb is that at least it's happened just as the school hols are beginning.

Just hope the staff get sorted as they bear the brunt when these events happen.

Yes, quite agree. It had been expected, by many, but that doesn't help the staff. It's going to be difficult to find other operators for some of the routes, though I guess a few may just get dropped as uneconomic anyway.
 

mbonwick

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I knew this was happening 2 weeks ago. I did pm a admin on here as i could not make it public. The debts are incredible. Cant say too much but a rescue package is being formulated as we type.

Pre-pack deal perchance? So same everything pretty much but without the debt....
 

daodao

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I'm not particularly surprised at the demise of GHA, but their collapse will leave a big gap in bus service provision across much of North Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire. Places like Corwen, Whitchurch and Knutsford were almost exclusively served by GHA.

Of particular note is that GHA ran many services without financial support from local authorities, which other operators had declined to run without subsidies. Cash-strapped councils are unlikely to have any money to fund other operators to take over. Even if replacement services are provided, they are likely to be less frequent than previously and delays in providing them will mean that usage is likely to be lower - once people find other ways to travel, they are unlikely to revert to using the bus.
 

Baxenden Bank

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I'm not particularly surprised at the demise of GHA, but their collapse will leave a big gap in bus service provision across much of North Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire. Places like Corwen, Whitchurch and Knutsford were almost exclusively served by GHA.

Of particular note is that GHA ran many services without financial support from local authorities, which other operators had declined to run without subsidies. Cash-strapped councils are unlikely to have any money to fund other operators to take over. Even if replacement services are provided, they are likely to be less frequent than previously and delays in providing them will mean that usage is likely to be lower - once people find other ways to travel, they are unlikely to revert to using the bus.

Re the bold - Which gives you a good clue as to why they have now gone bump, that and buying turnover with ridiculously low prices for tendered work. Unfortunately such behaviour has destabilised things for all of the other operators, and the travelling public. The councils will expect similarly low prices from replacement operators, or they will accept less of a service than at present for the same money i.e. a one bus working in future instead of two buses at present.
 

northwichcat

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D&G Bus are saying they are accepting GHA weekly tickets on their services.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Pre-pack deal perchance? So same everything pretty much but without the debt....

Doesn't sound like it'll be a pre-package arrangement. If that was the case they should still be operating, maybe dropping some of the less profitable/loss making services and losing some drivers. However, it seems nothing is operating which suggests the administrators will sell off the assets to recover as much of the debt as possible.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Of particular note is that GHA ran many services without financial support from local authorities, which other operators had declined to run without subsidies. Cash-strapped councils are unlikely to have any money to fund other operators to take over. Even if replacement services are provided, they are likely to be less frequent than previously and delays in providing them will mean that usage is likely to be lower - once people find other ways to travel, they are unlikely to revert to using the bus.

They also ran services commercially when council money had been available either because they lost the contract or they weren't confident of winning the contract.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
According to a local councillor the 4 x Enviro 200s for the 88 route were purchased using money provided by Waters (the international corporation) on condition that they would be used on an enhanced 88 route until mid-2019.
 

overthewater

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According to a local councillor the 4 x Enviro 200s for the 88 route were purchased using money provided by Waters (the international corporation) on condition that they would be used on an enhanced 88 route until mid-2019.

There is nothing wrong with that deal, strange but it does happen else where. Whitelaws coaches were about to pull out of two routes around Lanark, SPT were going to put it out to tender but the company said, you pay for two new buses and we're keep the service going.

GHA deal might see said buses go back to Waters.
 

northwichcat

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Arriva said:
Service 5, Wrexham to Llangollen - Arriva is now running this service - timetable to follow

Service 11A, Rhyl to Chester Evening service - Arriva will be covering these journeys as per the GHA times

Service 82, Chester to Northwich - Arriva is now running this service (hourly service)

Service 83, 84, 84A, Rhyl locals Sunday service - Arriva will be covering these journeys - times to be confirmed

https://www.arrivabus.co.uk/north-west/Latest/gha-coaches-cease-trading/#sthash.WUQyq9EE.dpuf
 

TheGrandWazoo

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There is nothing wrong with that deal, strange but it does happen else where. Whitelaws coaches were about to pull out of two routes around Lanark, SPT were going to put it out to tender but the company said, you pay for two new buses and we're keep the service going.

GHA deal might see said buses go back to Waters.

Isn't Waters Corp a major employer in Wilmslow and they've part funded new vehicles? I doubt they've any ownership claim on them though
 

overthewater

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Isn't Waters Corp a major employer in Wilmslow and they've part funded new vehicles? I doubt they've any ownership claim on them though

There must be some clauses somewhere to make sure the improvements are kept in place until 2019
 

northwichcat

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Isn't Waters Corp a major employer in Wilmslow and they've part funded new vehicles? I doubt they've any ownership claim on them though

The councillor is trying to find out more but he implied a 6 figure sum was paid by Waters to GHA and without it GHA wouldn't have been able to afford to acquire the buses.

Thornton Grant are the administrators and it's been disclosed an ignored final demand from HMRC caused the operator to go in to administration.
 

overthewater

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Who do you pursue? A business that no longer exists?

Hence the reason i believe the buses are owned by Water so there can keep them without them disappearing. That was SPT done with there deals if the company pulls out or disappears the buses stay with them.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Hence the reason i believe the buses are owned by Water so there can keep them without them disappearing. That was SPT done with there deals if the company pulls out or disappears the buses stay with them.

SPT is one thing as they routinely purchase vehicles and getting operators to run them.

For instance, Wessex Water don't own the buses that First run for them in Bath. I'd be more inclined to believe that the agreement is that they underwrite the leases in some way but not in the event of business failure. After all, why would a business like Waters look to tie up their capital buying buses on behalf of an operator? Hence, I'd be surprised if Waters own the vehicles unless someone knows better.
 
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overthewater

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SPT is one thing as they routinely purchase vehicles and getting operators to run them.

I'd be surprised if Waters own the vehicles unless someone knows better

If there dont have some owner ship over them, then Waters are very stupid company.
 

northwichcat

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Who do you pursue? A business that no longer exists?

The administrator has a legal obligation to write to all creditors to inform them of the administration where possible* and to do everything they can to recover any losses. However, they'll be an order of priority for paying creditors which, unfortunately for the drivers, will have any unpaid wages for employees made redundant down near the bottom of the list.

* Obviously not in the case of passengers who bought weekly tickets on the bus without giving any personal details.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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If there dont have some owner ship over them, then Waters are very stupid company.

Are you guessing?

I don't know the contractual arrangement in this case. However, I routinely work with clients in similar circumstances. Vehicles are sourced often on an operating lease, usually a manufacturer but sometimes from an intermediary.

The lease sits with us as the service provider. However, it has a back to back agreement with our client. Therefore, for the duration of the lease, the client underwrites. If the client wishes to exit early, they must satisfy the outstanding monies etc. If they go bust, we have some ability to apply leverage to the administrators in some instances but often just join the list of creditors.

However, were we go out of business, then the client would have no liability (but obviously would need to get a replacement service provider). The vehicle supplier would be pursuing us and our administrators as a creditor.

I'd be surprised if a multi-national business are tying up their capital in buying buses for GHA to operate.
 

northwichcat

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I'd be surprised if a multi-national business are tying up their capital in buying buses for GHA to operate.

As they were building a new site for 500 employees they were required to make public transport an attractive option for their employees as part of their planning permission application.

The bus previously didn't go past their business and also didn't stop at Wilmslow railway station. It was usually operated by 58 reg Versas though, so fairly modern buses. The changes saw the frequency doubled - half the buses stopping directly outside Waters* and all buses serving the station and also new buses with wifi, leather seats and a table of four at the rear to provide a 'business like' interior.

* Sending all buses that way would have faced complaints from people living in Morley Green village.
 
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SCH117X

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High Peak are taking on the following services from tomorrow (Fri 15th)
P1 Hazel Grove- Middlewood

19 Macclesfield-Prestbury. Unfortunately the link on High Peaks website goes to the timetable for the P1.
 

northwichcat

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Was the 200 supported by the National Trust and Manchester Airport Group?

Yes. Cheshire East, TfGM and the National Trust and Manchester Airport all provided funding. GHA had only just started a new 7 year contract to run that service.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
High Peak are taking on the following services from tomorrow (Fri 15th)
P1 Hazel Grove- Middlewood

19 Macclesfield-Prestbury. Unfortunately the link on High Peaks website goes to the timetable for the P1.

I've posted a full list of Cheshire East services which are running under new operators in the Cheshire East thread. Most of the others (so far) have gone to D&G, with Howard's Travel taking on the 289. The 27, 88 and 200 are the big ones which we are still awaiting news on.
 

miami

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I've taken the 88 a few times down to Wilmslow Station and into Altrincham. Very expensive service.

I was supposed to get it yesterday but fortunately a couple of meetings were cancelled so I didn't need to go.

I never saw any business types on the service, and most crucially it was very unreliable - often running 15-25 minutes late, and without any type of realtime tracking.
 

northwichcat

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I've taken the 88 a few times down to Wilmslow Station and into Altrincham. Very expensive service.

I was supposed to get it yesterday but fortunately a couple of meetings were cancelled so I didn't need to go.

I never saw any business types on the service, and most crucially it was very unreliable - often running 15-25 minutes late, and without any type of realtime tracking.

The fares on the 88 route are at the same level on the 27 route (which got any old bus including K reg double deckers on occasions) and are typical fares for Cheshire - much higher than in Greater Manchester.

Real time tracking was trialled on council owned Wright Cadets which used to be used on the 27 route but as a result of council budget cuts the buses got sold and tracking was never rolled out on other Cheshire routes.
 
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