Stagecoach West increases presence in Bristol with SGBC acquisition

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Bristol-based South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach has been acquired by Stagecoach West, the deal being completed on 20 September

The Stagecoach Group announced on Monday 23 September that it has expanded operations in the West of England with the acquisition of South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach (SGBC), enabling further growth into one of the UK’s fastest growing cities.

South Gloucestershire operates 30 coaches in livery. 55013 is seen departing Bristol for Falmouth. RICHARD SHARMAN

Stagecoach has been working in partnership with the Bristol-based family bus and coach company for the past two years and now that the owners have decided to step down, a mutual agreement has been made to buy the business and its assets. The operation will become part of Stagecoach West, which covers nearly 25 million passenger journeys a year.

As one of the UK’s leading smart cities, with a focus on delivering better air quality and improved traffic flows, Bristol is seeing growing levels of employment and has predicted growth of 20% in the next five years among the 16-25 year-old population.

Stagecoach’s plans for Bristol will help to deliver improved connectivity for the city and support the region’s aspirations for economic growth, in getting people to work, and bringing shoppers and visitors to the city.

Stagecoach has invested significantly to improve the experience for its customers, with the roll out of the country’s biggest bus contactless ticketing project and industry-leading investment in greener buses. Stagecoach West, in the last year alone, has invested around £4.8million in 19 brand new double-decker buses to link Swindon, Faringdon and Oxford and to serve Cheltenham Park & Ride.

As well as its depot in Bristol, the business includes the 100 employees working for South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach and its fleet of 53 buses and coaches.

The operation runs commercial bus services, school contracts and private hire services and is one of the lead contractors for Stagecoach’s megabus business, operating services across a national network of coaches.

Rupert Cox, Managing Director for Stagecoach West, said: “This is a really exciting development for passengers in the West of England. We’ve been working in partnership with South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach for some time now and they’ve also been a very reliable and trustworthy contractor for our megabus services.

“This provides us with a great opportunity for more flexibility and offers a diverse mix of services to complement our existing routes. And with the 16-25 year old population predicted to grow by 20% in the next five years in Bristol, now’s a great time to look at expanding our services even further into this exciting market and to support the region’s aspirations for economic growth.

“We’d like to thank the team at South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach for their support and we look forward to developing the services even further.”

Mark Venables, Managing Director for megabus, added: “This is a great step forward for megabus. We’ve enjoyed a really close partnership with South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach for over two years and with the owning family deciding to step away after many successful years of operation, we’re happy to continue with their legacy in taking the business forward.

“With our megabus services allowing access to and from Bristol to almost 70 destinations on our intercity coach network, it provides great opportunities for greater connectivity with this important city.”

All services currently operated by South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach will continue to run as planned, and all staff currently working for the business will transfer to Stagecoach West.

Exchange of contracts took place on Friday 20 September with completion expected in late October.

School and contract services are operated, along with public services such the peak period 462, which Van Hool L300SGB is seen operating. RICHARD SHARMAN