Scarlet Band has re-secured Durham City Park and Ride after losing the contract to Arriva five years ago.
The West Cornforth-based independent operator starts running the new five-year contract on October 27. No changes to fares or timetables are planned.
Owner Graeme Torrance said he was delighted and promised to drive the first bus from Belmont himself. He told The Northern Echo: “We’re a local company and it’s good for the community. I think we were pretty good on it before and we were disappointed to lose it, so we’re pleased to win it back.”
12 drivers will have the option of moving from Arriva to Scarlet Band, taking its workforce to 60, and the firm plans to buy 10 new buses to run the service.
Nick Knox, Area Managing Director for Arriva North East, said the firm was very proud of its achievements over the past five years, including a 99% customer satisfaction rate and 13% rise in passengers on the service, saying its operation had been a great success.
Dave Wafer, the council’s Strategic Traffic Manager, said Arriva had provided an excellent service but Scarlet Band had put in an extremely competitive bid, saving the council more than £170,000 a year.
The Park and Ride service runs buses from three sites on the outskirts of Durham, at Belmont, Sniperley and Howlands, into the city centre every 10 minutes, carrying around a million passengers every year.