GHA buys Shropshire Bus & Coach

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Strategic acquisition gives expanding independent a base in Shrewsbury, with the capacity to run 70 vehicles

GHA Coaches has acquired Shrewsbury-based operator Shropshire Bus & Coach. The deal is an important strategic move for GHA Coaches, which is based in Ruabon, near Wrexham. GHA is the largest independently-owned bus and coach operator in North Wales and Cheshire, running 240 vehicles from six locations.

Stephen Bryce, General Manager at GHA Coaches told CBW: “We have taken over the whole company including the 10 vehicles. Previous owner Steve Morris has stayed on to look after the business. The deal gives us a base in Shrewsbury for Shropshire Council contracts. It means our existing Shropshire operations can be consolidated there – including service 96 Shrewsbury Telford, via Ironbridge.

“We recently won the tender for route 436 Bridgnorth – Shrewsbury, which will also be run from this depot. The service is currently run by Arriva Midlands. We are acquiring three 10-plate former Menzies Scania OmniCitys. They will be repainted into the new GHA silver and red livery in time for the start of the contract in July. Shrewsbury Park and Ride is coming up later in the year.”

Asked about the depot site, which is located off St Michael’s Street on LMS New Yard, Castle Foregate, Stephen replied: “We have taken on the lease for the site – along with the land next door. We have the capacity to operate up to 70 vehicles out of Shrewsbury.”

The 10 vehicles acquired with the business include a pair of 56-plate Caetano Levante-bodied Volvo B12Bs, two V-plate Optare Excels, two Iveco Dailys, a Ford Transit, an LDV Maxus and two Mercedes- Benz Sprinters. In a separate development, GHA Coaches has expanded its Cheshire operations by running head to head with municipally-owned Network Warrington (formerly known as Warrington Borough Transport) on route 16. GHA has acquired two new Optare MetroCitys for use on the service, which interworks with the firm’s existing route 45 Northwich to Warrington.

“We have given passengers on our Cheshire network the opportunity to make through journeys to the General Hospital in Warrington,” explained Stephen.