Business as usual as local council takes over Pembrokeshire routes

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Edwards Bros operated three Optare Solos, plus a Solo SR, a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and a Wrightbus StreetLite WF on its services, all of which have now been taken on by the council. JULIAN DOLMAN

A Welsh county council has taken measures to secure local bus services in Pembrokeshire by purchasing the assets of an operator

Pembrokeshire County Council has completed the purchase of the assets of Edwards Bros Coaches of Tiers Cross and will be operating all contracts previously run by the company. Following completion of the necessary due diligence, the council’s public transport team made the move to ensure that it can maintain its statutory duty to provide public and school transport, and to save money as part of an ‘invest to save’ strategy.

The Council stepped in when it became clear that the operator was planning to withdraw from the bus market. Estimates for re-tendering the routes amid reduced competition and rising bus operating costs suggested to the Council that it would have faced substantially increased costs for the same level of service provision.

The council’s Cabinet backed the acquisition of the Edwards Bros assets in January. Councillor Rhys Sinnett, Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, said: “We have a statutory duty to provide these important services in as sustainable and cost-effective way as possible and in this case that has been to bring these assets in house.

“Customers on school and public transport routes should notice very little change to services other than the removal of the Edwards Bros branding from vehicles. Former Edwards Bros staff are now being employed by the Council, with management being undertaken by existing officers from within the Transport Department who have the necessary qualification to manage a bus company.

“I would like to thank officers in the Council for the hard work done on the due diligence work, and also to the former proprietor of Edwards Bros and his team for reaching this milestone. It is especially poignant for Mr Edwards, given the family run nature of the business over many years.”
The services involved cover routes in the Milford Haven and Haverfordwest areas.