East Yorkshire Motor Services (EYMS) is to close its Driffield depot – in an effort to cut its overheads in the wake of reduced concessionary fares reimbursement.
Driffield is home to 15 buses and 33 staff, 28 of them drivers, and the company says jobs will be available at other depots for the vast majority. The only journeys to be withdrawn would be a small number of evening trips on route 121 (Hull – Scarborough ), as they would no longer be required to get buses back to the Driffield depot from Hull or Bridlington. Consultations with the union and staff representatives have started and, subject to these, the depot could close by June.
Describing the decision as ‘a very sad day,’ Peter Shipp, EYMS Chairman, said: “Over the years, we’ve shut a few depots inherited from local bus operators which EYMS has bought when those operations have been absorbed into its existing garages, but this would be the first original EYMS depot to close. I’m afraid this is just one regrettable result of those challenges.
“The local authorities in our area have been very supportive and I have no doubt that they would prefer not to make these funding cuts but we all know they are under pressure and suffering big reductions in their budgets. It’s just a great pity that bus services, which are a lifeline for many, are not given more priority especially by central government.”
East Riding Council recently announced it is to cut £240,000 a year from the concessionary fares reimbursement budget. In North Yorkshire, which covers the northern section of route 121, that council is also proposing further reductions in the reimbursement and has already significantly reduced the budget for its tendered bus network.
Mr Shipp added: “Many bus routes in other parts of the country have seen significant reductions and a lot have gone altogether over the past few years. However, we’ve worked hard to maintain our services and have been prepared to accept very low profits in the face of increasingly difficult circumstances.
“Therefore, I am desperately sorry we’ve finally had to take this step but it is vital that we do whatever we can to cut our overhead costs.
“To make anything approaching this level of savings by cutting bus services would mean a significant loss of journeys and possibly even whole routes. In doing so, we would reduce costs but we would also lose passengers, revenue and staff redundancies would be inevitable.
“By saving on our overheads, we are able to maintain virtually all of the journeys currently operated by Driffield depot. However, I cannot rule out the possibility of some service reductions elsewhere in future, given the scale of the funding issues we are facing.”