North East Wales

GHA Coaches: Concern over directors' new service bid

Passengers still face disruption after GHA Coaches went into administration in July Image copyright Jaggery/ Geograph
Image caption Passengers still face disruption after GHA Coaches went into administration in July

Concerns have been raised that two brothers who ran a collapsed coach firm have bid to run some of its abandoned routes - under a different company.

GHA Coaches, based in Ruabon, Wrexham, went into administration in July with the loss of 320 jobs after failing to pay a tax bill.

Local councils are seeking new contractors to run routes, while 200 buses and coaches are being sold off.

But many passengers are still facing disruption.

The company operated public and school services across north Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire.

Now it has been revealed GHA's former directors, Arwyn Lloyd Davies and his brother Gareth, are involved in two companies which have won contracts from Wrexham council to run eight former services in the county borough.

The subsidised services will be run by RJ's of Wem Limited and RML2418 Ltd, subject to Traffic Commissioner approval.

Image caption GHA coaches went into administration in July, with the loss of 320 jobs

Both companies have registered offices in Ruabon. Companies House records show the brothers have been directors since May last year.

Plaid Cymru North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd said he was pleased to hear replacement services were being provided.

However, he added: "There has to be concern that the same directors that saw GHA go to the wall are also now in charge of RJs of Wem, which itself, only last December, came within a whisker of being struck off the Companies House register."

This was a reference to the company allegedly failing to comply with Companies House rules.

'In the lurch'

Mr Gruffydd added: "I would hope that Wrexham council has done its due diligence checks to ensure that this new company won't go the same way as GHA Coaches and leave staff and passengers in the lurch once again."

Wrexham council's lead member for transport, David A Bithell, said: "We were aware of the interests of RJ's of Wem through the tendering process.

"As with all tenders, there is a procurement procedure to follow, and this will be subject to all statutory procedures.

"RJ's of Wem will also need approval from the office of the Traffic Commissioner."

The BBC has attempted to contact the Davies brothers for comment.

Meanwhile, administrators Grant Thornton, who are winding up GHA Coaches, have organised an on-line auction next week.

A representative said the vehicles would be auctioned over three days and money raised from the sale would go towards paying creditors.

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