Manchester Community Transport to end operations in April

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The largest non-publicly funded community transport operator in Greater Manchester, MCT has announced that it is to close in late April blaming ‘operating conditions’

Manchester Community Transport (MCT), which runs over 50 bus routes, issued a statement on its social media platforms and website on 19 February stating that it is to close in late April, blaming ‘operating conditions’ as the cause.

In October 2017, MCT was rescued from closure by joining transport social enterprise HCT Group, which provides financial, management and technical support.

Newer vehicles in the fleet had started to wear HCT Group livery. RICHARD SHARMAN

In a statement, the operator, which has been operating for over 30-years, said that HCT Group could no longer sustain its losses and had ‘no alternative but to withdraw support.’

Phil Stockley, Interim Managing Director of MCT, said: “It’s a really sad day for all of us. Colleagues from across the Group – and the whole staff team at MCT – have worked tirelessly to put the operation here on a sustainable footing.

“We understood the level of difficulty facing MCT when we took on this challenge but felt strongly it was worth every possible effort to preserve a Community Transport organisation with such a longstanding tradition of service in the area.

“We have done all we can, but the situation does not appear to be recoverable and we can no longer maintain our support.”

MCT’s operating area includes Ashton-Under-Lyne, Macclesfield, Manchester, Oldham, Sale, Shudehill and Stockport.

The company, which moved depot and head office to Oldham last August, also covers many weekend and evening services.

MCT consists of three divisions:

    1. MCT Travel – Bus Services, community transport and minibus hire employing around 113 drivers:
    2. MCT Fleet Maintenance – Maintaining its fleet and offering services to social enterprises and small businesses in Manchester; and
    3. MCT Training – Offering MiDAS training throughout the North West.

Alison Chew, TfGM’s Interim Head of Bus Services, told the Manchester Evening News: “Manchester Community Transport has informed us that it will cease operating in Greater Manchester in April.

“MCT operates bus services under contract to TfGM and to minimise the effects on passengers we will be working with them to transition these contracts to other operators as soon as possible.”

TfGM will issue further details on how the situation will be addressed in the coming weeks.

This news comes soon after another Greater Manchester operator announced it was to close or sell operations by 18 April. That operator is Leigh-based Jim Stones Coaches, whose owners are retiring.