Having been advised at what it said was short notice on Friday 21 April by the owner of Little Gem – which operated a range of school and local bus services – that the company would stop running contracted services the following day, TfGM has issued an update on the replacement service arrangements in place. New operators have been found for most services affected by the closure, it says, with cover arranged where possible. Emergency contracts – which will run for 13 weeks while a more permanent solution is explored – will see Belle Vue take over routes 280 and 288, D&G the 260, 261 and 262 and First the 336, 337 and 389.
TfGM says it is continuing to explore options relating to service 375 after no operator bid for it, and is working to limit the impact on residents in the affected areas of Upper Hazel Grove, Hawk Green and Mellor in particular, where there is a lack of alternative bus or other public transport services. As a result of cost increases, no alternative services will be introduced to replace services 44, 84 or 217; the bids for the emergency contracts were more than £500,000 higher than the previous contracts (for the 13-week period), TfGM revealed. As such, and with a range of alternative options for users of these services, the transport authority said that no immediate replacement is planned.
The former Little Gem fleet, made up of 10 Alexander Dennis Enviro200s and four MCV Evolution-bodied VDL SB180s, have been acquired by Rotala-owned Diamond Bus for use in the Midlands.