‘Sad day’ as MCT set to close
Manchester Community Transport (MCT) is proposing to close in late April. The operation cites mounting losses and difficult trading conditions as the reason behind the decision to end operations.
The community transport operator was rescued from closure in 2017 by joining HCT Group. It has been reliant on it for financial, management and technical support since that time. Operating conditions for MCT have not improved sufficiently for continued support to be viable. HCT Group can no longer sustain MCT’s losses and says it has no alternative but to withdraw support.
“It’s a really sad day for all of us,” said Phil Stockley, Interim Managing Director at MCT. “Colleagues from across the group – and the whole staff team at MCT – have worked tirelessly to put the operation here on a sustainable footing.
“We understood the level of difficulty facing MCT when we took on this challenge, but felt strongly it was worth every possible effort to preserve a community transport organisation with such a longstanding tradition of service in the area. We have done all we can, but the situation does not appear to be recoverable and we can no longer maintain our support.”
MCT has been serving the community in Manchester since 1980, when it was originally known as Wythenshawe Mobile, at the time benefiting from Urban Aid Funding. According to its website, by the start of the 21st century it found funding was beginning to dry up and public grants were being withdrawn. To cope, it used the surplus it generated from commercial work to subsidise what grants had done before. Its services expanded to east Manchester, prompting it to rename itself Manchester Community Transport. It then began delivering services in Trafford, as well as Tameside, Salford, Oldham and Rochdale.
MCT provides community transport services across the Manchester area as well as Transport for Greater Manchester contracted bus services, with 109 employees and a fleet of 67 vehicles. There are 51 routes it runs listed on its website. In August 2019, it announced it had moved to a new depot and head office in Oldham, replacing its previous sites in Stockport and Rochdale.
Reacting to MCT’s announcement, Alison Chew, TfGM’s Interim Head of Bus Services, said: “Manchester Community Transport (MCT) have informed us that they will cease operating in Greater Manchester in April. MCT operate bus services under contract to TfGM and to minimise the effects on passengers we will be working with them to transition these contracts to other operators as soon as possible.”