Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Uncertain future for South Yorkshire school bus service

BrightBus fleet
Image caption BrightBus employs 90 people and operates more than 160 journeys a day to and from 35 schools in South Yorkshire

The future of school bus services used by more than 12,000 pupils in South Yorkshire is in doubt after plans to wind up the operator were announced.

BrightBus runs bus services to 35 schools but will cease trading in July.

The news has caused concern among some parents while a group of drivers say they would be keen to buy the firm.

Managing director Mick Strafford said he was confident the "vast majority" of children would not be badly affected by his decision to close the business.

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Image caption BrightBus managing director Mick Strafford said he hoped to minimise disruption to employees and those using the buses

He said he had made the decision due to health reasons.

"We are trying to place some of the school services with other operators and we've had one or two encouraging conversations.

"[Winding down the business rather than selling it] gives the staff the opportunity to move on and choose where they want to go rather than have someone else come in, and that's how we want to work it.

"We will do things in as structured way as possible to cause the minimum disruption possible.

"By no means does it mean the children will not have a direct service to school, perhaps in quite a few cases they will, it just won't be us operating it."

Driver Neil Roberts, who is part of a group called Save BrightBus, said he believed a buyout by staff was the best solution.

"More than anything else it's the best solution for the kids," he said.

"Some of us would be willing to sacrifice our redundancy pay to keep the company going."

Mr Strafford said he had not been approached by the drivers but was happy to listen to any proposal.

Ben Gilligan, from the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, said: "We are already working closely with schools and local authorities to help minimise the impact of BrightBus' announced closure."

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