Leven Valley cease trading
Middlesbrough based Leven Valley Coaches is to cease trading on 20 March 2015. The decision to end operating was partly due to rocketing insurance costs, as it faces a 64% rise in its insurance premium for 2015. This difficulty has been compounded by tough economic conditions, lower than anticipated passenger numbers and the end of the last remaining public subsidies, making continuing unaffordable. Strong competition from Arriva and Stagecoach in the local bus market also played a contributing factor. The company operates services in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Billingham and Redcar and Cleveland with a fleet of 18 vehicles.
MD, Andrew Carter, told B&CB that the option has been given to his staff to move to Compass Royston Travel, which bought out Leven Valley in 2013. It was at this time that all of the acquired firm’s back office systems were merged into the one site. The Leven Valley fleet is expected to move to its parent company’s other divisions or be disposed of. The company has apologised to all passengers for any inconvenience caused. However, the region has ‘many alternative travel options’ and some of the business’s services are duplicated with different operators running along the same routes.
Director of Leven Valley Coaches, Kevin Procter, said, ‘The decision to close the business and end all services has been a very difficult one. I know that passengers who’ve come to rely on our buses may be inconvenienced and for that I apologise. The sad fact of the matter is that it has become increasingly uneconomic to run most of the services we provide, not least because of the cost of insurance. I believe the whole “where there’s blame there’s a claim” culture means it has become impossible for us to secure affordable cover. It is a nail in the coffin for small operators like us who do not have the benefits of size and scale enjoyed by companies like Arriva or Stagecoach.’