Badgerline loses bus war
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• Badgerline has pulled out of Bournemouth and Salisbury following intense competition from the established local operator, Wilts and Dorset Bus Company. A total of 120 jobs will be lost in Bournemouth and 50 in Salisbury.
Staff at Salisbury have been offered transfers to another Badgerline company, Red Admiral, in Portsmouth.
Chris Carr, marketing director of Badgerline Holdings, says "We went in to compete with a non-mini-bus operator, but Wilts and Dorset replied aggressively with a mini-bus operation of its own. There was not enough revenue to justify two operators competing for passengers."
"Did they make the right decisions to take us on in the first place?" asks Wilts and Dorset managing director, Hugh Malone, who may now expand the services.
Badgerline's first foray into W&D territory was in June 1987 when 12 Robin Hoodbodied Ivecos entered service on five routes in Salisbury. There are now 25 mini-buses on the routes, but the Badgerline services cease in May.
Badger Vectis services in the Bournemouth area have already ceased. The company was started in June 1987; owned jointly by Badgerline Holdings and the Isle of Wight operator Southern Vectis.
Badgerline services began in September with six routes linking Poole with Wimborne, Bournemouth and Hamworthy. The fleet, maintained by Bournemouth municipal operator Yellow Buses, comprised 32 vehicles, including about 20 Iveco mini-buses, doubledeckers and Bristol RE singledeckers. Badgerline says it will dispose of the REs and redeploy the other vehicles. Carr says that a number of staff had already left, and with the shortfall of personnel it was better to terminate the services rather than try to run unreliably for a while.
Wilts and Dorset runs 45 Metroriders in Salisbury and Poole, bought mainly to meet competition from Badger Vectis. Poole has a fleet of 25, which also run in Wimbome and Bournemouth; there are 20 in Salisbury. The company's total fleet numbers over 250.