CT Plus Yorkshire: Key bus operator to cut all Leeds services from tonight as company falls victim to pandemic and soaring costs

A Leeds bus operator has announced a number of key services will no longer run after saying it had encountered “multiple challenges” over recent years.

Friday, 5th August 2022, 12:50 pm

HCT Group has announced their Powells and CT Plus buses will close and services will stop running locally from 8pm tonight (Friday, August 5).

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The operator runs a number of local bus services across West Yorkshire including from Leeds, Wakefield and Pontefract.

The operator runs a number of local bus services across West Yorkshire including from Leeds, Wakefield and Pontefract. Picture: James Hardisty

In a statement published on social media the operator said it had been suffering from “significant difficulties” for some time.

“You will be aware that we have had significant difficulties in our Yorkshire operation for some time now.

“We have faced 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 labour cost.

“Everyone at CT Plus Yorkshire and Powell’s — and across the wider HCT Group — has worked tirelessly to put the operations in Yorkshire on a sustainable footing, but there is nothing further to be done and the situation cannot continue.

“This is an immensely sad day for all of us across the group, and we are sorry for the distress that this situation will inevitably cause.”

Originally founded as Hackney Community Transport back in 1982, HCT Group was established in 2008.

The following Leeds routes are to be affected:

30: (Pudsey – Horsforth)

61/61A: (South Leeds Stadium – St James’s Hospital)

81/81A: (Pudsey – Leeds Infirmary Street).

Another key service set to be impacted will be the 113 service, a free shuttle bus that connects Dewsbury & District Hospital, Pinderfields Hospital and Pontefract Hospital.

Arriva Yorkshire have today confirmed however that due to the importance of the route they will be picking it up from Monday (August 8).

"Given the importance of the 113 route, running between three hospitals in our community, we clearly would not want to see it unserved,” a statement read.

“That’s why our team have been working flat-out over the past 24 hours to mobilise resources and arrange cover for this very important service.”

Responding to today’s announcement, Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:

“I’m disappointed to see CT Plus closing in West Yorkshire, and my first thoughts are with the drivers and other staff who will now be looking for work elsewhere.

“My fear is that this is only the start. Bus patronage hasn’t risen as quickly as we’d like after the pandemic, which is why I and others have been calling on Government to extend its Bus Recovery Grant beyond October. Smaller operators need that support to help them through this difficult time, they don’t have multi-national parent companies to fall back on."

CT Plus services across West Yorkshire will cease trading from 5pm tonight while further services across the Yorkshire region will stop running from Monday (August 8).

“We are working with partners and other operators to limit the impact on our communities – especially those that rely on key services – and have put measures in place to maintain the AccessBus services that CT Plus ran on our behalf. We’re now working to find replacement operators for the remaining services, but it is inevitable that some passengers will be inconvenienced while this happens.” Mayor Brabin added.