Halton Transport

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by F262YTJ, 19 Jan 2020.

  1. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Member

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    A sad demise of what was Widnes Corporation Buses. They were always a small operation pre deregulation as Crosville had Runcorn and through services to Liverpool (via Halebank). In all honesty, I am surprised that they lasted as long as they did and the austerity measures imposed on Halton would not have helped investment in buses etc. It’s size was its major hindrance in the new world of deregulation.
     
  2. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Veteran Member

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    The new world of deregulation....we're talking 33 years ago now! In the early days, Halton prospered in the then new world, helped by the actions of militant Crosville drivers in Liverpool and the asset strippers that were ATL Holdings. Lots of secondhand Nationals joined new Lynxes and all was well.

    What's been happening, and this shouldn't be a shock, is that you had a business that had a higher cost base (ex council) and a declining financial position. Investment dried up and it had to manage like an under-resourced independent scouring the secondhand markets, although an independent would've had more freedom to tackle some of the cost issues. Of course, it had the usual problems such as insufficient ENCTS, reduced high street footfall, and those have been compounded by Merseytravel's demands and the impact of the building of the new Mersey crossing.

    Been a little while since I was last in Widnes (2017?) but it had the whiff of death about it then.
     
  3. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    I guess that staff costs weren't dramatically different to other local operators given that they were still trying to recruit drivers and I recall that many of the buses were parked up in a simple yard. They clearly couldn't pay a dividend to the council - so it's a bit odd if their overall costs were significantly higher.
    The other 'usual' problems, coupled with relatively small size, must have been a major factor.
     
  4. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Member

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    In the old days, the impact of Merseytravel would have been negligible as they did not operate beyond the boundaries of Halton/ Warrington area. Indeed , I’d say that Merseytravel gave them much needed assistance.They chose routes into Liverpool that took in areas like Hough Green ,Halewood , Belle Vale which were areas of public transport demand , but also well served by Arriva. Even Stagecoach pulled their express service from Widnes last year. They were always up against it with Arriva effectively taking over Crosville ‘s routes. Their traditional areas of Cronton, Hough Green and even routes to St Helens and the route towards Warrington have seen competition from other larger operators. Widnes is not a basket case, but it is too small for both Arriva and Halton. No matter what you may think about Local Authority Operators, Halton have served the area well. I expect Arriva to step in, if allowed under current regs.
     
  5. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Veteran Member

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    More recently - the Merseytravel requirement for upgrading ticket machines has been cited by Halton themselves IIRC, and the issues of MyTicket where the number of adult fares has declined markedly has also been noted elsewhere.

    What I think about LA operators.... Some are excellent, some are poor. Bit like independents, large group OpCos etc.... variation in all aspects.

    To be fair, having done a quick comparison with a major operator, they were on par. Staff costs per capita have gone up 5% so reflecting the need to recruit. The depot is a substantial lump but with a fair yard opposite. However, whilst costs have increased, revenue has flatlined.
     
  6. Chris217

    Chris217 Member

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    MY tickets have hit all operators revenues
    due to misuse and abuse by fraudulent travel without it even being policed.
    It's about time they introduced a fail safe scheme where they use photo ID cards with an expiry date which proves the users true age!
    Halton have been in trouble for a long time I got told.
    Something odd that they buy 14 yr old secondhand buses for further use as they used to buy brand new.
    Even going far back as the Scania Omni City's they bought.
    Probably one of their biggest mistakes really,as they all needed centre doors taking out. Also it is widely known they drink diesel like its water.
    Also,a few years ago,new drivers were introduced to a new rate of pay which was a lot lower than everyone else at the time.
    The drivers used to be the highest paid in our area between them Arriva and Stagecoach. Not now though!
    They havent gone yet,but it doesnt look good does it?

    On a memory trip....
    I remember many years ago visiting their bus depot and couldnt help noticing buses parked next to bin wagons lol.
     
  7. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    Halton aren't helped that Arriva cover most of the routes, they only have a couple of routes in Widnes & 61 Liverpool-Widnes section which doesn't have another operator covering most of the route, you have Warrington's Own operating some 62s, but only 4 to 5 off peak journey's.

    The 61 can be quite busy, i was on it a couple of weeks ago bus was at least 3 quarters full, a lot of that route Halton have themselves, it would be ironic if that falls victim, as that was extended to Liverpool after the Crosville closed down the Liverpool depot & sacked the workers because of the strikes by militant union
     
  8. robertclark125

    robertclark125 Established Member

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    Story on the BBC news website

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-51190580

    "
    A council-run bus company could collapse after seeing losses increase by more than 1100% in two years.

    Halton Transport, which runs more than a third of services across the Cheshire borough, lost almost £620,000 in 2019, up from £50,500 in 2017.

    Halton Borough Council, which funds the company, said it was "getting more difficult" to continue support.

    It has scheduled a meeting with firm bosses on Wednesday to discuss the matter.

    A council spokesman told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the company had experienced "significant financial and operational difficulties for some time" and the authority was "continuing to engage" with management.


    The firm has also been called to attend a hearing before the Traffic Commissioners, the national body in charge of licensing bus services, with the understanding that if the council find the firm no longer to have "appropriate financial standing" or be "of good repute", the commissioners could revoke its operating licence.

    The council spokesman said "despite the significant financial challenges faced by the council", it had been working with the company "to try to support it".

    "However, this is getting more difficult as the competing pressures on council budgets and services increase."

    On top of its mounting losses, the firm's most recent accounts show it is more than £450,000 overdrawn, does not have enough assets to cover its debts, and has frozen salaries in a bid to keep costs down."

    Just as an aside, it was suggested competition rules may prevent Arriva taking over the network that Halton runs. One possible way round it is for Halton to decide to close down, and Arriva agree to take on the routes, and the staff, but not the vehicles or premises. The latter would be sold off by Halton, and no money would change hands between Halton and Arriva. Because it's not a takeover, merely someone closing down, and someone else replacing, it's not something the CMA can look at.
     
    Last edited: 24 Jan 2020
  9. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Given that Arriva already have premises that allow them to serve Runcorn, I can't see them wanting a ragbag of poorly maintained old vehicles anyway, so this will probably suit them just fine.
     
  10. randyrippley

    randyrippley Established Member

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    Are Arriva seriously going to want Halton's bus fleet? What are they going to do with a motley collection of second hand vehicles which would be non-standard to Arriva?
     
  11. TheGrandWazoo

    TheGrandWazoo Veteran Member

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    Isn’t that what was being said? Arriva not taking the fleet as part of a POTENTIAL SPECULATIVE view.
     
  12. robertclark125

    robertclark125 Established Member

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    That's what I said. I said Arriva can take on the staff and routes, but not the premises and not the vehicles, and no money changes hands. Halton would sell off the unwanted vehicles.
     
  13. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    Just as well Arriva already have a depot in Runcorn, Speke & St Helens depots aren't too far away either, so don't need to take over Halton's Widnes depot
     
  14. busman30

    busman30 Member

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    halton drivers were told today the company will close on friday in widnes today warrington buses were offering drivers 200 pound to join them from sunday and arriva were offering 300 pounds
     
  15. busman30

    busman30 Member

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    looks like warrington have got the school contracts but dont want the services and arriva already do the services but dont be surprised if stagecoach or go north west operate services against arriva
     
  16. busman30

    busman30 Member

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    it actually ceases trading friday evening brian stephenson informed drivers today some already have new jobs at warrington with the school contracts they were doing and arriva both companies had managers in widnes today offering drivers 200 and 300 pounds respectively
     
  17. busman30

    busman30 Member

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    they honestly cease trading friday evening we have quite a few starting in warrington on monday doing their school contracts that merseytravel gave to warrington
     
  18. carlberry

    carlberry Established Member

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    Why would they compete against Arriva for services that Halton were losing money on? And they'd need to run them free for 8 weeks as well!
     
  19. busman30

    busman30 Member

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    Do you read what you write school contracts are not in competition with arriva you don't have to work them 8 weeks for free and Warrington have no interest in the service work arriva can have all that as stated before
     
  20. busman30

    busman30 Member

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    Arriva buses are no better than the fleet at halton except the gas buses dont kid yourself
     
  21. busman30

    busman30 Member

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    Nowhere in my posts have i put that we at warrington want any of Halton service runs let stagecoach do them they are a bigger company and can compete with arriva
     
  22. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    8 weeks ???
     
  23. carlberry

    carlberry Established Member

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    The time it would take to register a competing service, I believe it's 8 weeks at present however what ever it is.
    As the council own Halton and, clearly, there's been discussions with Arriva and Warrington about future services they're likely to approve short notice changes for those however I cant see the TC and the council agreeing the same if somebody just wants to compete.
     
  24. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    8 weeks is the old requirement, it's now up to 70 days - or 42 days if done with the support of local authorities etc.
     
  25. robertclark125

    robertclark125 Established Member

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    It is possible to register a replacement service, with VERY short notice. I emailed Stagecoach MCSL once about this, I think it was to replace Fishwicks of Leyland. Stagecoach were allowed to register the replacement services with just 48 hours notice. However, this involved telephone calls to speak directly to the area traffic commissioner, who also had to contact the relevant local authorities to ensure they were happy.

    There is another way around it. Arriva, and Network Warrington, operate the services until the change of registrations take place, but with vehicles having signs in them reading "On hire to Halton Transport". When Stagecoach divested Preston bus to Rotala Transport Solutions in 2011, route 11 (now route 1) remained with Stagecoach. To allow the registrations to be effective, Stagecoach buses operating on the 11 had "On hire to Preston Bus" signs in their windscreens.
     
  26. carlberry

    carlberry Established Member

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    Both of these are available when the local authority is behind the change which it should be in this case, the statement about the 8/10 weeks wait was related to a different operator starting competing services which are rarely allowed at short notice.
     
  27. sonic2009

    sonic2009 Established Member

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    Agreed, now Winsford's engineering has moved to Runcorn, it's chaos. The state of the buses at Winsford is shocking.
     
  28. markymark2000

    markymark2000 Member

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    You can register services with 2 days notice normally if you are replacing another service.

    Stagecoach did this with GHA services running them free for the first 2 days or so and then they brought in normal Stagecoach fares.
     
  29. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    Arriva's buses are far better[comfort wise at least] than the ones Halton use even though they may be the same age, the MCVs Halton have are awful i always get cramp with the lack of legroom, then the Scanias Halton have drink fuel like some people drink beer.
     
  30. Statto

    Statto Established Member

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    Just to add, when Avon buses Wirral closed October 18, Arriva took over some routes with a few days notice, although Arriva withdrew them mid November
     

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