Morebus to take over former Yellow Buses routes after Xelagroup pulled out

A Xelagroup bus in Bournemouth town centre <i>(Image: Daily Echo)</i>
A Xelagroup bus in Bournemouth town centre (Image: Daily Echo)

THREE more bus routes are to be operated by Morebus after the company which took over the Yellow Coaches name pulls out of Dorset this month.

Xelagroup said last month it was handing back the 18, 33 and 36 bus contracts to BCP Council on February 14, as well as quitting its school services.

The Eastleigh-based company had run the services since shortly after the demise of Yellow Buses, which went into administration last summer. Xelagroup bought the Yellow Coaches name from the administrators and ran green buses on the public routes with the slogan “Your Yellow services going Green”.

Morebus will now run the services from Wednesday, February 15, from existing timetables.

Poole-based Morebus will also continue with three school routes which it was operating under a six-month temporary agreement.

Cllr Mike Greene, BCP Council’s cabinet member for sustainability and transport, said: “We are delighted to award these important bus contracts to Morebus and have pulled out all the stops to ensure that these vital routes remain in operation.

“Reliable public transport is essential to the success of any area. It was vital that we found a way to keep buses that directly serve places such as Fernbarrow Estate and West Way in Broadstone running smoothly.

“Our hard work on this – and close partnership with Morebus – means there will be no break in service and that it’s now possible for residents to travel sustainably around our area using one company.”

Morebus ran the 18, 33 and 36 for around a week after Yellow Buses’ collapse, only to lose out to Xelagroup in a council tendering process.

The 18 runs between Bournemouth, Parkstone, Canford Heath, Waterloo Estate and Broadstone.

The 33 links Bournemouth and Boscombe with Queens Park, Bournemouth Hospital, Soutbhnourne and Christchurch, while the 36 links Kinson, West Howe, the universities and Talbot View with central Bournemouth.

Broadstone councillor Vikki Slade said: "I'm delighted that it's been confirmed and look forward to more comfortable, reliable journeys from Broadstone and the ability to link seamlessly with the rest of the network."

Morebus managing director Andrew Wickham said: “I am delighted to add these important public routes to our network across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole – and to continue operating the school services we were entrusted with last year.

“Our team has been doing a tremendous job, since adding new routes in 2022, following the end of Yellow Buses’ operation here.

“We are delighted to be working with BCP Council to not only safeguard these school and public services, but to ensure taking the bus is an attractive alternative to travelling by car. This will play an important role in reducing congestion and improving the air we breathe on the south coast.

“In order to do this, we have invested heavily in new buses with low emissions Euro 6 engines over recent years, each featuring the latest in on-board technology - including USB chargers for smartphones and tablets, and tap on, tap off payments.

"Our pioneering app also offers technology so powerful, those travelling with us can save their regular journeys, mark bus stops or routes as their favourites, track exactly where their bus is at any given time and, of course, buy their tickets.

“We won’t rest on our laurels though - and will continue to look for new ways to improve our offering here.”