Thursday 18 June 2020

Jobs at Risk at Plymouth Citycoach

Jobs are under threat at a Plymouth coach company as the coronavirus lockdown means it can not run trips until at least September.

Plymouth Citycoach, a part of Plymouth Citybus and part of the Go Ahead Group, has been unable to run its holidays, short breaks and day trips due to the Covid-19 crisis. It won’t be back on the road in September, the firm said, and has had to refund people for cancelled trips.

 Picture - Geof Sheppard  

The nation’s coach trip industry is facing severe financial straits as a result of the lockdown, and now Plymouth Citycoach, which has been operating for more than three decades, has had to begin a redundancy process for its seven directly-employed workers. It is, however, hoping to find them alternative roles with Citybus as part of the consultation process.

The company stressed that while it has not been able to earn income, it has still been faced with paying costly overheads including insurance premiums and on maintenance of its fleet.

A company spokesman said: “The decision has been taken to begin a redundancy consultation process for seven staff employed by Plymouth Citycoach, the holiday and day trips company owned and operated by Plymouth Citybus.

“Plymouth Citycoach has been operating holidays and trips since the 1980s but had to suspend its operations as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 Picture - Rob Newbold

“Plymouth Citycoach suspended its programme of day trips and holidays in March for safety reasons and had cancelled all holidays and trips up to and including this August.

“Staff have been furloughed or are working remotely to refund customers in full for their cancelled holidays and trips.

“The entire coaching industry has come under financial pressure in recent weeks and Plymouth Citycoach is no exception, with the loss of income and retaining coach maintenance, insurance and depreciation costs, a review of its costs and future operations was necessary.”

The Plymouth Citybus website, which is no longer accessible, said holidays, short breaks and day trips are now cancelled until September 30.

A statement said: “We are taking these measures to ensure the safety and well-being our of passengers and staff alike.

“Please don’t worry about your bookings and try to call us. Please be patient; we are working remotely, dealing with departures in date order to arrange full refunds for all customers.”

The business runs holidays and short breaks to London, Scarborough, Weymouth, Bath, Blackpool, the Lakes and Legoland Windsor, among other destinations.

Its day trips take in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset, and there is a coach hire operation too, for its 49- and 53-seater vehicles.

Meanwhile, parent company Plymouth Citybus has continued operating during the lockdown, having taken safety precautions including the taping off of rearward-facing seats, and introducing a stringent cleaning regime.

It did not restrict passenger numbers but in May 2020 said it has only been carrying about 10% of usual numbers, on about 40% of normal services running during the lockdown.

Update 26th June 2020 The company has now been closed down owing to the “severe financial pressure” that has been brought onto the coach industry by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.