End of road for long serving bus firm

The owner of a long serving bus company claims it has had to stop trading because of harsh subsidy cuts to public transport.

K&H Doyle, which began in 1986 by running a shuttle service between Pentrich and Street Lane, Denby, grew to a fleet of 28 vehicles running services around Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

These included the popular 152 route through Somercotes and Alfreton.

But on Monday, January 13, the Alfreton firm, founded by husband and wife team Kevin and Helen Doyle, of Nottingham Road, Ripley, halted its fleet. Helen is sadly no longer alive.

Mr Doyle said: “I just can’t carry on because of all the cutbacks.

“The councils were expecting us to do the job for nothing, I feel.”

In 2011 Derbyshire County Council cut subsidies to 42 bus services – placing greater strain on smaller operators.

However a spokesperson for the authority said this week that, when tendering contracts for bus routes K&H Doyle had accepted a price for its services.

“We have not changed these prices since they accepted the contracts,”the spokesperson added.

Heanor firm Yourbus will now operate the 143, 148, 151 and 152 services to the same timetable as before.

Yourbus has also taken on nine former K&H Doyle drivers who were set to lose their jobs.

Marketing manager for the Yourbus John Everil said: “A number of K&H Doyle drivers approached us for employment following the demise of the company. We were more than happy to welcome them to Yourbus and be part of our growing team of drivers.

“Having them on the routes they used to drive on ensures that passengers continue to receive a warm, friendly welcome aboard.”

K&H Doyle also ran services on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council and a number of commercial routes,

Its commercial routes included the 331 service between Selston, Moorgreen and Phoenix Park.

Leicester-based A&S Coaches has taken over the 331 route for the time being.

In Nottinghamshire all 12 K&H Doyle services have been replaced. A spokesperson for the county council there also said K&H Doyle had agreed on a price for its services.

The spokesperson added: “Overall (the council) paid Doyles £675,000 a year – the majority of which was for contracts which they tendered for.

“The 331 service specifically we helped subsidise to the tune of £70,000 a year.”

Mr Doyle said the company might consider running in a reduced role in the future, but for now he wanted to take time to reassess the firm’s options.

Daughter Kirsty Doyle had largely taken over the running company over the past year, he added.

“This isn’t a decision that has been taken lightly,” Mr Doyle said. “I feel gutted about it really, it’s just a sad thing to have happened.

“I’m just sorry for the people that we have let down.

“I’m just taking everything day to day now, but as I say, these things happen and it couldn’t be helped.”

Derbyshire county councillor for Alfreton and Somercotes Paul Smith said the bus company would be sorely missed.
He said: “It’s very sad in the scheme of things.

“When Trent Barton stopped the service in Somercotes 15 years ago, Derbyshire County Council tendered the contract to K and H Doyle.

“They’ve been operating a very reliable service, particularly the 152 through Somercotes and the outer estates of Alfreton.

“While they were operating in this area they proved a very good service.”