North East Wales

GHA Coaches: Bus firm collapse 'unexpected'

GHA Coaches bus sits idle with 'Not in service' sign showing

The scale of the collapse of north Wales bus company GHA Coaches was unexpected, a senior council figure has said.

The Ruabon-based firm went into administration on Wednesday with the loss of 320 jobs.

The company ran public and school services across Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire and into Cheshire.

One leading Denbighshire councillor, David Smith, said it was well known that the bus operator was struggling.

"I think people were aware that there were financial problems with GHA for a while," said Mr Smith, who is responsible for public services on Denbighshire council.

"But nobody had an idea as to how high or how much that was, or when it was going to tip over."

Image copyright Jaggery/Geograph

Administrators confirmed on Thursday the firm's principal directors Gareth and Arwyn Lloyd Davies had received a winding-up petition over unpaid taxes.

"The directors attempted to secure an emergency funding package but were unsuccessful," said the administrators.

In Denbighshire, Mr Smith told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales show the priority had been to secure school transport services until the end of the summer term, which is next Wednesday.

"As soon as we heard on Wednesday we set our contingency plans into place," he said, adding 95% of the school transport ran on Thursday and 100% on Friday.

Delays and cancelations

The two other north Wales councils hit by the company's collapse said they were also focusing on school transport.

"The council has given priority to school transport services in the first instance and is working with a number of different bus operators to put temporary arrangements in place; however some services may operate later than usual," said officials in Flintshire.

Wrexham has seen as many as 22 public route services cancelled, and said officers were continuing to "to engage with local bus operators to understand and assist them where possible to reintroduce a local bus route".

"We are pleased to say that pupils got to school this morning with minimum disruption and a big thanks must go to staff who worked into the night to sort this out," added officials.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites