Bristol Community Transport bus firm to stop trading amid cost of living crisis

ITV News understands key services like the MetroBus M1 will be taken over by First Bus Credit: First West of England

A company that runs dozens of bus routes in and around Bristol, including the M1 metrobus route, will stop running all of its community services this week.

Bristol Community Transport will stop all of its community-based operations from Friday (26 August) after its parent company, the HCT Group, ran into financial difficulties.

This includes all Dial-a-Ride and minibus groups which offer a vital lifeline to members of the community.

The organisation say they have around 700 regular users, most of which are vulnerable, elderly or disabled.

ITV News understands key services like the MetroBus M1 will be taken over by First Bus

In a statement, it said: “It’s a sad day for all of us at HCT Group.

“We understand just how important these services are for the people that use them and it is the last thing we wanted to do.

“The move follows a period where we have been rocked by multiple challenges – a period of difficult trading prior to the pandemic, the financial impact of the pandemic itself, followed immediately by the current surge in fuel prices and the cost-of-living crisis.

"This has led to a position where continued delivery of these services is unsustainable.

“We have tried to the very last minute to find an alternative operator for these services, but sadly, we have been unsuccessful, which means these services will now come to an end.”

Dial-a-Ride provides door-to-door service and can be used to travel anywhere in Bristol for any purpose, including to shopping locations, GP surgeries, hospitals and community centres.

This will result in 10 job losses on the community side, however, it's understood that a plan is in place to ensure the Metrobus M1 route connecting south Bristol, the city centre and Cribbs Causeway will be taken over by First Bus.

A spokesperson for First West of England said: “The M1 service is operated by HCT under contract with First and we expect the service to remain operating.

"We recognise this is an important route for Bristol and we will take all necessary steps to ensure that it remains so.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson told ITV News West Country: “Community transport operators play a crucial role in connecting people, and we continue to support their vital work, with more than £2bn funding going to bus operators and local authorities since March 2020 to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.”