Transdev Blazefield acquires Yorkshire Tiger bus operations

A Yorkshire Tiger DAF DB250 Optare Spectra 717 double-decker is seen approaching Mount Tabor en route from Wainstalls to Halifax
Yorkshire Tiger DAF DB250 Optare Spectra 717 en route to Halifax. CHRIS SALMON

Deal includes two depots, 61 buses and the transfer of 163 staff

Transdev Blazefield has signed an agreement to buy the Arriva-owned Yorkshire Tiger bus operations. Completion on the sale is expected in summer 2021.

The sale is set to include Arriva’s depots at Elland, near Halifax and Waterloo in Huddersfield, as well as 61 buses. The agreement will also see Arriva’s 163 drivers, engineers, cleaning and support colleagues based at these two depots join Transdev.

Waterloo depot will be on its fifth owner since the millennium, with Traction Group, Stagecoach, Centrebus and Arriva preceding Transdev. 

Routes 231 and 232 between Huddersfield and Wakefield are expected to remain within Arriva’s Yorkshire business. 
Transdev said it will integrate Yorkshire Tiger’s current day and season passes into its range of unlimited travel tickets, while West Yorkshire Metro’s range of multi-operator tickets will continue to be valid on all its services.

The business from which Yorkshire Tiger was assembled began in 2008, when a Centrebus/Arriva joint venture (Centrebus Holdings) purchased the Huddersfield-based operations of Stagecoach Yorkshire, and acquired K Line of Honley. In early 2010, Centrebus Holdings expanded into Halifax and Leeds, winning 12 tendered services. 

Yorkshire Tiger launched as a brand on October 8, 2013, one month after Arriva purchased Centrebus’ 60% shareholding in Centrebus Holdings. With Martijn Gilbert at the helm initially, prior to his move to Reading Buses in 2014, the business was given four weeks to eliminate Centrebus branding as part of the sale agreement, and chose a Tiger-themed brand from Ray Stenning of Best Impressions. 

Yorkshire Tiger closed its Idle depot in Bradford in 2020, after losing three contract services to Leeds Bradford Airport to Transdev Blazefield companies last August. The airport services had been branded Flying Tiger, using buses with blue liveries instead of the standard orange. 

Transdev Blazefield CEO, Alex Hornby, said: “We are thrilled to be growing our team and our company, and are really looking forward to serving this part of West Yorkshire for the first time. This demonstrates Transdev’s long-term commitment to develop our business here in the north of England, building on a clear track record of success. 

“We’re looking forward to meeting all our new colleagues and new customers, as well as strengthening relationships with our local authority partners further. This presents a hugely exciting opportunity to all work together and improve the quality of bus travel further across Halifax and Huddersfield.”

Arriva area managing director, Patrick Sibley, commented: “Although we will be sad to hand over operations of our Tiger business, we are delighted that it will be in the hands of Transdev, a well-known local bus company, who will take good care of the depots, customers and all employees.”