Operators take on former Levin Valley services

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Croft Coach Travel, Stagecarriage and Arriva step in to cover eight bus routes between them

A number of former Levin Valley bus routes have been saved after local operators stepped in, the Middlesbrough Gazette has reported.

Eaglescliffe-based Croft Coach Travel has taken on the 18/19 service from Middlesbrough and James Cook University Hospital through to Hemlington and Stainton, along with the early morning Monday to Friday bus services 605, 606 and 607, running through various Middlesrough suburbs. Under Croft Coach Travel, the 18 and 19 service is running every hour and a half.

Services 603 and 604 have not been taken on by the company due to low passenger numbers.

The 84 Stockton to Stillington service and the 45 Middlesbrough to Wolviston Court, Billingham service have been taken on by Middlebrough-based Stagecarriage, which operates 11 vehicles from the Bolckow Trading Estate in Grange Town.

Arriva, meanwhile, will run the 7A (formerly the 77) service from Stockton-Yarm via Willey Flats. The company is also revising its service 6 to operate a longer day between Hartburn and Stockton to replace withdrawn peak time services in Hartburn, near Stockton.

As published in CBW last issue, Leven Valley Coaches announced it was to close on March 20. The company partly blamed high insurance costs, as well as tough economic conditions, lower-than-anticipated passenger numbers and ending public subsidies.

Croft Coach Travel Director James Wright said: “I am really pleased that Croft Coach Travel has been able to continue service 605/606/607 which are very early morning bus services within Middlesbrough.

“Passengers using these services are predominantly travelling to places of employment and I am happy that we are able to continue to provide transport to employment hubs.

“Continuing service 18 will provide the community with a vital east-west link across Middlesbrough.

“Many elderly people use this service in accessing health services at James Cook University Hospital and Croft Coach Travel are passionate about providing public transport which meets the needs of the community.”

Cllr Charlie Rooney, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for regeneration said: “I’m grateful to Croft Coach Travel and all those involved in the negotiations for their efforts to save these routes.

“While we understand the pressures faced by the previous operator, we also know how important these services are to bus users, especially those who rely on them for travel to and from work.

“I hope the travelling public will use and support these important services so they can continue to grow and become sustainable in the future.”