Stagecoach in Eastbourne
|Locale||Borough of Eastbourne|
|Service area||Eastbourne, Polegate, Hailsham, Heathfield, Uckfield, Tunbridge Wells, East Grinstead|
|Service type||bus service|
|Operator||Stagecoach South East|
|Website||Stagecoach East Sussex|
In early November 2008, local press reports indicated that Eastbourne Buses was to be sold by the end of the year to either the Go-Ahead Group or Stagecoach Group. The employees' trade union, Unite, wrote to Eastbourne Borough Council to ask the Council to sell to the Go-Ahead Group, because of work conditions and a superior fleet.
On 25 November 2008, it was announced that Stagecoach was preferred bidder to purchase. A few days later, it was announced in local press that the takeover had cost £4 million. Stagecoach had run services in the town until late in 2000 before they were withdrawn, and at the time of the announcement operated services to Hastings and Bexhill from Eastbourne.
The sale caused a lot of controversy, with MPs criticising the secrecy surrounding the sale and blaming each other's parties for the state the Eastbourne Buses got into, the Liberal Democrats claiming the Conservatives "failed to support Eastbourne Buses".
There has also been criticisms of the low price the company was sold at - revealed at £3.7 million, lower than the original report of 4 - and criticism against Stagecoach, one MP saying that the company has effectively been "given away for nothing" However, is was revealed that Go-Ahead had bid much lower at £2.85 million, so the council has to sell to Stagecoach to serve the taxpayer due to the £1.2 million difference in bids, despite the union's calls.
The bad financial condition at Eastbourne Buses which caused the sale was illustrated by the news that in April 2007 the company nearly had to close as it could not pay for fuel.
In January 2009, Cavendish Motor Services were bought by Stagecoach Group as well, making both companies one. Because of this, both companies now accept each other's tickets. Stagecoach has announced redundancies for Cavendish staff. Both companies were then merged under the Stagecoach in Eastbourne name.
On 13 May 2009, the Office of Fair Trading announced that it was referring the purchase of Eastbourne Buses and Cavendish Motor Services by Stagecoach to the Competition Commission. Although the provisional decision found that the acquisitions had substantially lessened competition, the Competition Commission cleared the purchase in October 2009 after deciding that Cavendish would have chosen either to reduce its services substantially or even to close its operations altogether following Stagecoach's acquisition of Eastbourne Buses.
On the 30 June 2013, Stagecoach in Eastbourne introduced a summer only service, Route 110, to celebrate 110 years of bus services in Eastbourne. Using a 1967 Eastbourne Buses Leyland Titan PD2 or a 1950 AEC Regal on a circular service around the town.
- "Bus firm is close to being sold". TR Beckett Newspapers. 2008-11-06. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
- "Eastbourne Buses was sold for £4million". TR Beckett Newspapers. 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2008-11-29.
- "MP blasts 'cloak of secrecy' over sale of bus company". TR Beckett Newspapers. 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
- "How bus company almost went bust". TR Beckett Newspapers. 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
- "MP slams bus sale". TR Beckett Newspapers. 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
- "Stagecoach axe Cavendish Buses and 40 jobs". TR Beckett Newspapers. 2009-01-15. Retrieved 2009-01-22.
- "OFT refers Stagecoach bus acquisitions in Eastbourne to Competition Commission" (Press release). Retrieved 2009-06-05.
- "CC Clears Eastbourne Bus Merger" (PDF) (Press release). Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- "Classic Route 110". Stagecoach Bus. 2013-06-30. Retrieved 2013-07-20.