Whitelaw’s ends coach operations

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The company has decided to pull out of coaching work and focus on buses. WHITELAW’S

The long-standing Scottish independent is to focus solely on its bus operations following a ‘strategic and operational’ decision to cease coaching

In a statement from owner Sandra Whitelaw, long-standing Scottish independent Whitelaw’s says it has made what it calls a ‘strategic and operational decision’ to close down the coaching side of its operations. The company started its life as a coach operator 51 years ago, but has diversified, and local bus services have been the main part of its business for many years, though Sandra said that school contracts and private hire have remained important.

“Unfortunately, the coaching side of the business has faced a series of challenges, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Sandra said in the statement on 28 June. “It can no longer make a positive contribution to our wider business. We have had to contend with labour shortages, a massive increase in our costs, a higher regulatory burden and low-quality competition. We are confident we have done all we can to mitigate these challenges. In our endeavours to reduce labour shortages, we have offered PCV scholarships, paid for tests and training, offered bonuses to entice recruits, participated in the ‘Routes to Work’ scheme and provided competitive wages.

“We have reluctantly concluded that there is nothing more we can do and that we must act now in the best interests of our business and our people’s future. The Board has made this strategic, commercial decision, which has been taken at the right time to achieve a positive outcome.

“The closure will not result in job losses. We will now focus all our efforts on our public transport operation, which provides modern, high-quality local bus services to communities across Lanarkshire. We are a reputable, local business that strives to provide good and professional services, while offering a fair working environment for our people. We will continue to do that.

“While we are disappointed to withdraw from coaching, this positive decision will help us to continue investing in our business and people. We look forward to our next chapter, exciting opportunities and continuing delivery of high-quality services to our customers.”

The bus side of the business will continue, and there will be no job losses. RICHARD WALTER