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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Rivals Reays and Stagecoach to go head-to-head on services

Rival bus companies Reays and Stagecoach will compete head to head between Workington and Cockermouth, and Workington and Maryport, from next month.

Stagecoach bus photo
Stagecoach and Reays buses

Both have registered the 35 – Workington to Cockermouth via Seaton and Great Broughton – as a commercial service from September 2.

The route is currently operated by Reays and AA Travel, but under contract to Cumbria County Council with a subsidy.

Reays and Stagecoach both believe they can run it at a profit.

Wigton-based Reays has also registered three other council-subsidised routes as “commercial” from the same date – the 36 from Cockermouth to Workington via Greysouthen, the 58 from Maryport to Cockermouth via Dearham, and the 60 from Skinburness and Silloth to Maryport.

It already has the 36 and 60 under contract, while the 58 is run under contract by Stagecoach.

Reays will operate all these services without taxpayers’ support.

The 60 is being beefed up to an hourly frequency and extended to Workington competing with Stagecoach on the Maryport-Workington section.

A new Sunday service, with four return trips, diverts to serve the Sunday Market at Silloth Airfield.

Andy Horn, Reays’ transport manager, said: “We are extending the 60 to Workington so passengers can go straight to Asda or into Workington itself, instead of having to get off and change buses at Maryport.

“The 60 is a popular route for people going to work, shopping or enjoying some leisure time as there are holiday sites all along it and we feel it deserves a better service.”

He was “staggered” by Stagecoach’s decision to register the 35 as commercial.

Between them, the rival firms will provide 13 journeys each way on Mondays to Fridays compared with eight now.

Mr Horn said: “We have run the route very successfully [under contract] for five years but there has been no demand for extra services.”

Stagecoach says it was unaware that Reays had registered the 35 when it put its own application in.

It was launching the service to make better use of a vehicle that would otherwise by idle between school runs.

He added: “The [Stagecoach] 35 service will offer passengers the opportunity to connect onto our extensive network of services at Cockermouth and Workington, and use our great value daily and weekly tickets for travel throughout west Cumbria and beyond.”

Reays and Stagecoach were competing on urban routes in Carlisle from 2010 until Reays axed most of its City Hopper network. A Reays’ service from Workington to Carlisle, competing with Stagecoach’s 300, was withdrawn soon after.

But the pair are still going head to head in the Lake District where Reays has launched a Lakes Hopper network based on Keswick.

Many other bus routes in west Cumbria change from September 2 as a result of retendering of council contracts.

Reays has won some subsidised services from other operators.

These include the 101 Cockermouth town service from Ken Routledge, and the 58A Cockermouth-Tallentire circular and late afternoon journeys on the 57 Maryport town service from Stagecoach.

Reays says that all its west Cumbrian services will be provided by low floor easy-access buses.

Have your say

I live in a small village 2 miles from Cockermouth ,from a cost £1-60 on the 25/10/13 to £4-00, without prior notification which caused embarrassment to
passengers and drivers.
I would like an explanation for this and for
for the reuse of buses without wheelchair access.

Posted by Michael Speakes on 6 November 2013 at 19:17

well reays have gone mad and lost most of their passengers on the Workington to cockermouth route as from tue they now charge £4 from cockermouth to broughton this is a single as they have scraped return fare it is insane,thank goodness for stagecoach wont be on their buses again.

Posted by m water on 25 October 2013 at 10:55

View all 22 comments on this article

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