Hereford & Worcester

Small Herefordshire bus operators in contract fears

Some small Herefordshire bus operators have expressed fears for their future after having contracts terminated and being asked to re-tender.

Herefordshire Council said under EU regulations it has to offer tenders, when routes are changed, to all 74 approved operators in the county.

Rees Maddy, who runs minibuses at Michaelchurch Escley, said he was concerned a large firm may come in.

The council said it was reviewing about 38 routes out of 250 this year.

'Highly unlikely'

Andrew Blackman, admissions and transport manager for the council, said it was "obliged to adhere" to EU tendering rules.

He added: "So whenever we make any changes to routes, as a result of children moving from one school to another or anything of that nature, we have to cancel the arrangement with the existing operator, the existing route and then go out to re-tender.

"Under the framework agreement we have under EU regulations we have to offer those tenders to all 74 approved operators in Herefordshire.

"However I'd like to try and reassure the sort of Golden Valley operators that because of where they live, it's highly unlikely any large bus company will be able to drive a large bus down the roads around Vowchurch and Michaelchurch Escley."

Mr Maddy, who runs four minibuses, expressed concern that small firms would find it difficult to compete.

He added: "We've always done the job well, as we think, and at a reasonable price and the council have been happy with the work."

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