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Traffic Commissioner could take action against easyCoach – as ‘sabotage’ blamed for pull out

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Thursday, Aug 30th, 2018.

Action could be taken against a budget bus company which has withdrawn its services from Wrexham after just 75 days.

It comes as the owner of The Skiers Lodge Limited (TSL), which was running four services in the area under the name of easyCoach, has claimed ‘sabotage’ was one of the reason behind the routes being pulled.

However, the Office of the Traffic Commissioner has said that it is considering action against the firm over its reported failure to keep to timetables and suggestions that it operated without a licence – a position suggested possible when we enquired with Wrexham Council.

Company owner Andrew Martin said he decided to stop running local bus routes and airport services from September 9 after alleging that “certain individuals had been out to sabotage the business” but would not elaborate further on his claims.

He said: “They have escalated their action over recent weeks and certain incidents have been reported to the police”.

“The safety of the general public, passengers and staff has always been of paramount importance to me. No expense has been spared in the maintenance of our vehicles.”

easyCoach launched its services in Wrexham in June by opening a depot in the village of Rhosymedre, which it painted orange in keeping with easyGroup’s branding.

It also launched four main services in Wrexham – including the much missed Wrexham to Wrexham Industrial Estate bus – with the promise of cheaper fares for customers.

However a confidential report is understood to have been circulated to members of Wrexham Council in July, outlining concerns.

A spokesman from the Office of the Traffic Commissioner said: “The Traffic Commissioner agreed to the early cessation of services but will be considering action under the Transport Act 1985 and also actions under section 155 of the Transport Act 2000 as a result of reported timetable failures.

“Additionally, he will be examining suggestions that TSL has been operating from within Wales when no licence was held.”

It has also been shown that Wrexham Council was looking to retender one of the services provided by the firm earlier this month following concerns over performance issues.

A notice was published on the Sell2Wales public sector contract bidding website on August 9, asking for providers to come forward to take over the running of the 64 bus serving the Ceiriog Valley.

A spokesman for Wrexham Council said: “The 64 service went out for re-tendering due to concerns raised over performance issues – complaints with regard to the service were well-documented”.

“The procurement process with a view to a replacement service is ongoing.”

 

By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme).

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