Insurance costs force Leven Valley Coaches closure

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Teesside-based Leven Valley Coaches is to close after 28 years of operation, the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette reported.

The company blamed a combination of tough economic conditions, lower than anticipated passenger numbers, the withdrawal of public subsidies and primarily ‘crippling insurance costs’ for its decline. Strong competition from Stagecoach and Arriva was also seen as a factor.

It is hoped there will be no job losses when the business closes on March 20, with employees expecting to transfer to sister company, Compass Royston Travel.

The company is known for its distinctive yellow and red coaches and has run routes in Stockton and Middlesbrough.

“The decision to close the business and end all services has been a very difficult one,” said Director Kevin Procter.

“I know that passengers who’ve come to rely on our buses may be inconvenienced and for that I apologise.

“The sad fact of the matter is that it has become increasingly uneconomic to run most of the services we provide – not least because of the cost of insurance.

“I believe the whole ‘where there’s blame there’s a claim’ culture means it has become impossible for us to secure affordable cover.

“It is a nail in the coffin for small operators like us who do not have the benefits of size and scale enjoyed by companies like Arriva or Stagecoach.”

The business was originally established by a husband-and-wife team 28 years ago and was saved from closure by Compass Royston Travel in 2013. It is based at Bowesfield Crescent in Stockton. Its directors say it is now facing a 64% rise in its insurance premium.