Swindon approves sale of loss-making bus company

SWINDON Borough Council's cabinet has approved the sale of the authority's shareholding in bus company Thamesdown Travel.

The council said the company has incurred losses over the past five years, despite continued financial support from the authority. With the council facing "challenging financial pressures" of its own, the sale to commercial operator Go South Coast is in the best interests of local taxpayers, Thamesdown staff and passengers, it added.

Go South Coast's offer, the terms of which are confidential, covers all of the council's shares in the company plus the freehold of Thamesdown's Barnfield depot.

Cllr David Renard, leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: "We were one of the few local authorities in the country to still own a local bus company, but the council is operating in a really challenging financial climate at the moment and we do not have the resources to continue to support Thamesdown Transport as we have been doing in recent years.

"We believe this deal is in the best interests of local bus users as it secures the financial sustainability of the bus company, offers the best long-term security for Thamesdown Transport's employees and will provide vital investment. Go South Coast's expertise will also ensure customers continue to benefit from a high quality bus service."

The council will hold a joint meeting with Go South Coast and bus user groups in the coming weeks to discuss investment plans and address any concerns.