Halton Transport: Bus company faces collapse as losses soar

Halton Transport bus Image copyright Google
Image caption Halton Transport operates a third of the area's bus services

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.

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