Stagecoach North Scotland plans to acquire the Inverness area bus operations of D&E Coaches with effect from 7 January.
Plans, confirmed on 2 November, would see Stagecoach acquire some of D&E’s vehicles, Highland Council tendered service contracts around Inverness and the Black Isle peninsula directly across the Beauly Firth and Moray Firth to the north of the city, and for 20 D&E employees to transfer to Stagecoach under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations. The routes include match day service 300E to Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC.
Stagecoach has worked closely with Highland Council to review the performance of commercial and tendered services and create a combined network that delivers better value to the council. The revised network includes enhanced services to the Inverness campus of the University of the Highlands & Islands.
Before lodging its service registrations with the traffic commissioner, Stagecoach invited public feedback on the proposed changes in a two-week consultation exercise ending on 16 November. ‘This acquisition will allow us to further expand our successful bus operations in the north of Scotland where we currently employ around 850 staff and operate around 350 vehicles,’ says Stagecoach North Scotland managing director David Liston. ‘The expansion will bring a host of new benefits to those travelling by bus and address a few of the issues we have been faced with.’
Inverness-based D&E was established in 1996 as a minibus operator and now has over 60 vehicles, including midi and full-size coaches, and provides tendered services in more remote Highland communities.