By Harriet Ernstsons Thursday 24 January 2013 Updated: 25/01 09:00
REDDITCH'S two main bus operators are set to merge after a £1.5 million buyout.
Rotala Plc, which operates the Diamond service in the town, confirmed today (Thursday) it had purchased the First depot as well as the depot in Kidderminster.
Around 50 vehicles can be stored at the depot off Plymouth Road, which was built around 35 years ago.
The company has also taken over 36 vehicles and the equipment previously owned by First Group Plc and said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange current services would continue to run as normal.
Around 120 members of staff are employed across Redditch and Kidderminster, which made around £5.2 million between them but had a overall loss of £0.27 million in the year up to June 30, 2012.
"The acquisition will enable the company to expand and consolidate its position in those areas of Worcestershire which are contiguous to its main areas of operation in the Birmingham conurbation," the statement said.
"By integrating these acquired depots into its current depot network, the company will be able to take advantage of operating efficiencies generated by the acquisition."
The buyout is not expected to have an impact on earnings in the current financial year but the company predicts it will have a 'beneficial effect' on profits in the following years.
Dr Stephen Haselden, group business development manager, said: "The acquisition of these two depots is fantastic news for the people of Kidderminster and Redditch, as it will expand the current network and thus validity of Diamond Bus tickets across a wider range of services, though this will be from takeover, not from today.
"We look forward to moving into Kidderminster and to providing a greater number of services in Redditch. Our challenges will be exciting, such as modernising the fleet and updating ticketing equipment, but we very much look forward to them."
Welcoming the announcement, MP Karen Lumley said: "We need a proper bus service for the people of Redditch and I look forward to working closely with them to get that."
Coun Juliet Brunner, whose ward includes parts of the 57 and 58 bus route, added: "This has got to be positive for the town and I understand the drivers are also being transferred over so that is good news too.
"The 57 and 58 services will hopefully run a lot more smoothly under just one operator."
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