EYMS to close Driffield depot
Hull based East Yorkshire Motor Services (EYMS) Group is to close its depot at Driffield to reduce its overhead costs following significant cuts in the funding the company receives from central and local government. All the routes currently operated from the depot will be reallocated to other EYMS depots with only ‘very minor changes’. There will be no reduction in driver requirements. An additional factor behind the closure is difficulties with timekeeping on the site’s main route. The 121 between Hull and Scarborough has suffered in recent years from the lowering of rural speed limits, increasing numbers of traffic signals, delays caused by traffic congestion, slow moving vehicles and roadworks. Basing the buses and drivers at the large depots at each end of the route instead of in the middle at Driffield is expected to give better control by making it much easier to substitute buses and drivers when a journey runs late. Driffield is home to 15 buses and 33 staff, 28 of them drivers. The company says jobs will be available at other depots for the vast majority of the staff if suitable travel or relocation arrangements can be made. Consultations with the Union and staff representatives have started and subject to these the depot could close by June 2014.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council confirmed it is to cut £240,000 a year from its support to the National Concessionary Travel Scheme. EYMS provides by far the majority of bus services in the county, so bears the brunt of the reduction. More cuts are thought likely to follow. North Yorkshire County Council is also proposing further reductions in the money it pays operators for the free travel scheme and has already significantly reduced the money it pays to support services. EYMS has had a presence in Driffield since the company was formed in 1926 and the present depot was built in 1958 to replace the former garage premises.
EYMS Chairman, Peter Shipp, said, ‘Many bus routes in other parts of the country have seen significant reductions and many have gone altogether over the last few years, but we have worked hard to maintain our services and have been prepared to accept very low profits in the face of increasingly difficult circumstances. So I am desperately sorry that we have finally had to take this step but it is vital that we do whatever we can to cut our overhead costs, and the work operated from Driffield depot can be accommodated at our other garages. Making savings this way we cut overhead costs but we are able to maintain virtually all of the journeys currently operated by Driffield depot, although I cannot rule out the possibility of bus service cuts elsewhere in future given the scale of the funding issues we are facing. However we have given staff an assurance that we are certainly not considering any other depot closures.’
‘A major factor in all this is the National Concessionary Travel Scheme. I think the scheme should remain free but it is vital that operators are properly reimbursed. The local authorities in our area have been very supportive and I have no doubt that they would prefer not to make these funding cuts but we all know they are under pressure and suffering big reductions in their budgets. It is just a great pity that bus services, which are a lifeline for many, are not given more priority especially by central government. It will be a very sad day when the depot closes. Over the years we have shut a few depots inherited from local bus operators EYMS has bought, when those operations have been absorbed into our existing garages, but this would be the first original EYMS depot to close.’