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Home / Latest News / Clayton Jones: ‘I’ve still got the bug to run buses’

Clayton Jones: ‘I’ve still got the bug to run buses’

A controversial bus operator is planning a comeback just months after his previous company went bust.

Clayton Jones, who has had a succession of firms running buses in the Valleys and Cardiff for decades, is applying to the Traffic Commissioner for a licence to operate eight buses in the South Wales area.

Only last month insolvency practitioner Gary Stones, the liquidator of Mr Jones’ Heart of Wales Bus and Coach Company, filed a statement of affairs relating to its crash with Companies House in Cardiff.

The document showed an estimated deficiency for the firm of £895,935.

Mr Jones himself was the largest creditor, with £493,204 owed to him in respect of a loan made to the company in his capacity as the sole director.

The next largest creditor was HM Revenue and Customs, owed £223,975 for unpaid PAYE deducted from employees’ salaries, National Insurance contributions and VAT.

Trade and expense creditors were owed £127,721, with a further £51,192 owed on a hire purchase arrangement. The remainder was owed to employees.

When it went into liquidation, the firm had just £96 in its bank account.

Yesterday Mr Jones told the Echo: “I’ve still got the bug to run buses, and that’s why I have applied for a licence. At present I don’t know where I’ll run them, but I’m very interested in the Cardiff Airport route now that Cardiff Bus says it’s scaling back on its service.

“If I decide to go ahead, I’d run it from the centre of Cardiff through Canton and Ely and then on to the airport. I wouldn’t need a subsidy to do that.”

Mr Jones, 60, accused the Welsh Government of “killing” public transport by cutting back on bus subsidies.

He said: “The Government’s priorities are wrong. I recently flew up to Anglesey and there were only four of us on the plane, yet the route gets a massive subsidy. Meanwhile, they’ve cut back on the grants to local bus services and many are now shutting down or having their frequency cut.

“I’ve had a lot of conflict with the Traffic Commissioner, but I want to give people cheaper fares than the big companies like Cardiff Bus want to charge them.”

Anyone wanting to object to Mr Jones’ licence application must do so to the Traffic Commissioner by Thursday.

The Welsh Government maintains that because of the cut in its block grant from the Treasury, it had no alternative but to reduce grants awarded to bus companies. It also sees the Cardiff/ Anglesey air route as essential for the Welsh economy.

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