Operators That Were Bought And Essentially Closed Down (Without Selling On To Another Operator)

tbtc

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In the thread about bad purchases (https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/worst-purchase-takeover-acquisition.222409/), there's been mention of operators that were taken over and effectively closed with no trace "shortly after" - e.g. Stagecoach in Somerset or this...

Abellio’s purchase of Travel Surrey has to be considered poor as it has all closed down

Definitions are a little vague (I've only just thought of the concept), but let's say that the criteria are:

1. Operations were purchased (rather than, say, First setting up from scratch in Ayrshire to compete against Stagecoach)
2. Operations weren't sold on to another operator
3. But I'm fine with operations that were closed as a "quid pro quo" (i.e. Tyneside Buses buy an independent operator in Sunderland as a bargaining chip to encourage Wearside Buses to stop a long running bus war - the independent operator in Sunderland is coincidently closed down the moment that the competition in Tyneside finishes << a completely made up example, but you know what I mean)
4. I'm also fine with operators buying a company down to close it down and remove direct competition (e.g. Tyneside Buses buying a local operator just to shut it down, no routes/depots retained)
5. "no trace" might be a bit subjective but hopefully there are a few examples of an operation being taken over without anything to show for it (e.g. a year or two later there were no inherited routes remaining) - some staff being retained is fine - why not keep good drivers you inherit - but no routes or depots being kept

It made me realise that Yorkshire Traction's purchase of four independent Sheffield operators in the mid '90s was a bit of a waste as two of them (South Riding and Andrews) were essentially closed down with no routes kept - Tracky retained a number of Sheffield Omnibus routes (mainly the north-south 72/76 corridor) and a number of Yorkshire Terrier routes (mainly the east-west 52 and 120), but the Andrews services seemed to be all scrapped pretty shortly afterwards (although they did operate on a number of corridors) and only one South Riding service lasted much longer (the 49, which was "merged" into an existing Yorkshire Terrier route), so I don't know why Yorkshire Traction bothered buying Andrews
 
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Flange Squeal

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5. "no trace" might be a bit subjective but hopefully there are a few examples of an operation being taken over without anything to show for it (e.g. a year or two later there were no inherited routes remaining) - some staff being retained is fine - why not keep good drivers you inherit - but no routes or depots being kept
Does this mean the routes inherited are no longer operated by the purchaser but still exist with other operators, or that the routes are gone entirely?

The reason I ask is that in the Abellio Surrey example, the initial tenders they gave up were retendered, and then a six months later their remaining tenders all awarded to other people instead at their renewal time, leaving Abellio with just two commercial routes (which also still exist today with other operators). Some routes did change slightly, but generally their former network map isn't massively different to the bus routes that still operate in North West Surrey today, just spread across various operators.
 

tbtc

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Does this mean the routes inherited are no longer operated by the purchaser but still exist with other operators, or that the routes are gone entirely?

The reason I ask is that in the Abellio Surrey example, the initial tenders they gave up were retendered, and then a six months later their remaining tenders all awarded to other people instead at their renewal time, leaving Abellio with just two commercial routes (which also still exist today with other operators). Some routes did change slightly, but generally their former network map isn't massively different to the bus routes that still operate in North West Surrey today, just spread across various operators.

Ah, that's a good point - maybe I should have said "commercial routes" - you've raised a point that I hadn't considered!

Yeah, I suppose that if you buy a company with a lot of tendered routes and either hand them back or lose them at the end of the contract then the routes will probably continue with another operator, so I should include that caveat (the "no trace" should mean there's no trace of the commercial services, even if some of the tendered stuff continues today with other operators)
 

DunsBus

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I'd say that the Busways purchase, via Go-Ahead Northern of Tyne & Wear Omnibus comes into this category. Granted, the Tyne & Wear Omnibus name lived on post-takeover, but only as a Busways brand; the opco itself was quickly closed down.
 

GusB

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There's one that springs to mind - Alexander's North East. It was formed by a few former Northern Scottish drivers and ran services from Aberdeen north to Peterhead and Fraserburgh and south to Stonehaven. It got into trouble after purchasing Inverness Traction (which itself had been in difficulty and was subsequently purchased by Stagecoach) and was acquired by Grampian Transport. I believe they ran the services for a short period of time using their own vehicles, before withdrawing soon after Stagecoach bought Northern and reduced the number of Aberdeen city services.
 

DunsBus

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When Lowland Omnibuses (Lowland Scottish as was) bought Ian Glass Coaches in 1991, it wasn't long before the Ian Glass services were subsumed into Lowland's network and the Ian Glass Coaches name relegated to being a trading identity of Lowland's coaching arm.

Likewise, there was the rather abrupt demise of SMT as an opco just eighteen months after it was bought by GRT/First.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Trimdon Motor Services was purchased by Caldaire Holdings but after a few months, the Trimdon depot was closed and the vehicles repainted into United colours and absorbed into Peterlee, Durham and Bishop Auckland depots.

One of the most famous was King Alfred that was immediately absorbed by Hants and Dorset and the fleet quickly rationalised with the disposal of non standard fleet.
 

Robertj21a

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Didn't First at Northampton gradually fade away without Stagecoach needing to buy anything?
 

Ianno87

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Didn't First at Northampton gradually fade away without Stagecoach needing to buy anything?

Yes, they progressively withdrew routes until only 2 or 3 were left, and then gave up completely in around 2013 or so.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Yes, they progressively withdrew routes until only 2 or 3 were left, and then gave up completely in around 2013 or so.
They were limping along until mid 2012. They then moved into close down mode, shifting out the B7Ls to Norwich and received a motley collection of virtually depreciated Wright bodied Scanias to join the few remaining Citybuses and Verdes. The routes were then incrementally cut until the final two went in September 2013.
 

Tetchytyke

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There's loads of examples in the North East, just with Go-Ahead you have Northumbria Coaches, Stanley Travel, Jayline and OK Travel. Northumbria Coaches may be the best example, with Go obliterating the brand then passing it to Arriva when they did the deal to carve out territory.

Further afield, I'd suggest Black Prince in Leeds. Bought by First, gone quickly afterwards. Similarly with Quickstep Travel, though that did live on as a fleet name for a while
 

TheGrandWazoo

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There's loads of examples in the North East, just with Go-Ahead you have Northumbria Coaches, Stanley Travel, Jayline and OK Travel. Northumbria Coaches may be the best example, with Go obliterating the brand then passing it to Arriva when they did the deal to carve out territory.

Further afield, I'd suggest Black Prince in Leeds. Bought by First, gone quickly afterwards. Similarly with Quickstep Travel, though that did live on as a fleet name for a while
Of course, there were lots of other purchases by Go Ahead that did keep their identity for some time, even if (some of) the operations were subsequently merged into existing depots - Shaws Coaches, Gypsy Queen, OK Travel.

As for Black Prince, they were going to close up anyway. First only bought them to fill the void and stop anyone else from getting in there. Quickstep did survive as a low cost unit but Rhodes was purchased and immediately closed down IIRC.
 

Wyrleybart

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Is this what happened to Metrowest in Birmingham ?
Maybe also Chase bus in South Staffs ?
Both operators of Leyland Nationals which seemed to disappear overnight.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Is this what happened to Metrowest in Birmingham ?
Maybe also Chase bus in South Staffs ?
Both operators of Leyland Nationals which seemed to disappear overnight.
Metrowest certainly was.

Chase Bus had a short stay of execution with 2/3 Nationals in advertising liveries receiving Arriva livery on the front but it did go very quickly.
 

domcoop7

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Would Lancaster City Transport count here? The council offered to sell it to Stagecoach, Blackpool Transport put in a (low) bid, and Stagecoach retaliated in one of the famous examples of the "bus wars" by registering with the Traffic Commissioner to run all their routes. In the end, Stagecoach didn't buy the company as a matter of law, they just bought their depots and buses but subject to a condition that the council put the company into liquidation (which they did). So Stagecoach effectively paid money just to take over and close down the company.

[EDIT] Apparently according to Wikipedia it was Merseyside Transport buying Heysham Travel (a small local operator) that precipitated Stagecoach's actions.
 

TravelDream

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Veolia Transport in Wales certainly did so.
They went on a massive buying spree starting in 2005 which included reputable local operators and what some might call 'less reputable' which gave them a mish-mash of different vehicles (some nice, many less so) and services across South and Mid Wales. They operated 400 vehicles at their peak.

From 2011 to 2012 they seemed to fizzle into nothing closing depots and dramatically cutting routes right left and centre. Many of their routes were taken over or retendered and were picked up by multiple different operators (most notably Edwards took over National Express services). Some of the routes have had no service since Veoila cancelled them.
 

DunsBus

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Edinburgh Transport. Initially part of Silver Coach Lines, it was acquired by Stevenson's in 1993, passed to British Bus the following year when it acquired Stevenson's, and was in turn sold to GRT a few months later. GRT then wasted no time in merging it with the Lothian Transit operation.
 

GusB

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Edinburgh Transport. Initially part of Silver Coach Lines, it was acquired by Stevenson's in 1993, passed to British Bus the following year when it acquired Stevenson's, and was in turn sold to GRT a few months later. GRT then wasted no time in merging it with the Lothian Transit operation.
I had always wondered what happened to Edinburgh Transport. I had no idea that it had been sold to GRT.
 

DunsBus

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I had always wondered what happened to Edinburgh Transport. I had no idea that it had been sold to GRT.
As I recall, it was the Edinburgh Transport company and the routes which were sold to GRT. The fleet - a rather elderly collection of vehicles in various liveries which had been transferred from down south - remained with British Bus, who returned the vehicles to whence they came.

I remember this was as a part of a tidying-up of territory between the two groups following their respective purchases of SMT and Lowland (GRT) and Northumbria (British Bus) which saw Lowland take over Northumbria's contract work in the Kelso/Duns areas and, via Lothian Transit, Edinburgh Transport. In return it came off the Berwick town services, leaving these to Northumbria - ironically Northumbria would, itself, retire hurt in Berwick just a few years later.
 
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A0wen

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The much maligned AJS / London Country North East went on a bit of a buying spree in around 1990 - they bought out what was left of Sampson's to take over their depot in Hoddesdon, the Samspon's name lingered on for a couple of years on private hire vehicles in the Hertford / Ware area before being subsumed into County Bus. They bought out Stevenage independent Jubilee, which helped their fleet's age profile as by that stage Jubilee were running a mix of Lynxes, Tiger buses and Metroriders - the Jubilee name and Roadhopper branding all disappeared pretty quickly and they also bought out Welwyn Hatfield Line who's fleet got disbursed though the name carried on in use until the mid 90s when everything was consolidated onto the Sovereign name.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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The much maligned AJS / London Country North East went on a bit of a buying spree in around 1990 - they bought out what was left of Sampson's to take over their depot in Hoddesdon, the Samspon's name lingered on for a couple of years on private hire vehicles in the Hertford / Ware area before being subsumed into County Bus. They bought out Stevenage independent Jubilee, which helped their fleet's age profile as by that stage Jubilee were running a mix of Lynxes, Tiger buses and Metroriders - the Jubilee name and Roadhopper branding all disappeared pretty quickly and they also bought out Welwyn Hatfield Line who's fleet got disbursed though the name carried on in use until the mid 90s when everything was consolidated onto the Sovereign name.
AJS also purchased Harrogate Independent Travel and quickly folded that into the main Harrogate and District fleet. The depot survived in various incarnations though.
 

pdq

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How about the many local bus and coach companies that were bought by Island Fortitude, a bit of a mystery, Barbados-based company that also dealt with King Long vehicles. They seemingly bought up lots of companies then suddenly disappeared.
 

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