Tees

Leven Valley Coaches set to shut after insurance bill rise

A Leven Valley Bus Image copyright Google
Image caption Leven Valley's services will end at midnight on 20 March

Bus company Leven Valley Coaches has announced it will close after its insurance bill trebled to £154,000.

The Teeside company, which runs 11 services, said it could not afford to continue after its annual bill rose from £54,000.

Leven Valley hopes to move its staff to sister company Compass Royston, after it shuts on 20 March.

The firm blamed the premium increase on a rise in passengers making claims through free phoneline companies.

Andrew Carter from the company told BBC Tees: "We are all gutted but we find ourselves in a difficult position.

"We know we have got loyal passengers who have come to rely on our services, we are really sorry for the inconvenience this will cause them.

"The insurance is one key problem for us combined with the tough economic conditions we find ourselves in."

He said the insurance has risen due to a rise in the number of claims, which he blamed on the increase of companies encouraging people to make claims.

Mr Carter said: "If a bus has a bump it might be passengers ring a free claims line, all these claims mount up and we are now a bigger risk for our insurers, we understand their position but it means its conspired against us because of the culture we live in."

Middlesbrough Council said the decision was up to the company but it will be talking to other transport firms to see if they want to take on any of Leven Valley's routes.

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