NPIF loan helps historic bus operator prepare for tourist influx

Historic bus operator Hulleys of Baslow has received a £100,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), to protect its vital service for Peak District residents.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw a severe reduction in passenger numbers across the entire public transport sector. Despite the challenging circumstances, Hulleys of Baslow continued to maintain its much-needed bus service in the Peak District and neighbouring areas throughout the pandemic which has meant that Peak District school children and key workers have had access to public transport.

Hulleys of Baslow also facilitated access to remote areas of the Peak District for tourists from surrounding urban areas such as Manchester and Sheffield once restrictions were lifted. The company will use this loan to prepare for the spring and summer season of 2022 when passenger numbers are anticipated to increase.

Hulleys of Baslow was founded in 1921 and incorporated in 1988, after the business left the Hulley family. Its services connect residents of small Peak District towns with their neighbouring towns and larger urban areas including Manchester and Sheffield. The company operates 23 buses and retains a small fleet for coach excursions.

Andy Tyas, Investment Manager at Mercia, said: “We are delighted to support Hulleys of Baslow with our investment. The pandemic has had a significant impact on passenger numbers, but throughout, the management and staff of this long established company have worked incredibly hard to provide vital and much needed bus services enabling passengers to continue to travel to work, local schools and, when allowed, local tourist and leisure facilities. As the restrictions continue to ease gradually it is expected that passenger numbers will return to pre-pandemic levels.”

Sean Hutchinson at British Business Bank, said: “We’re proud to support organisations that are making a real difference to local communities, like Hulleys of Baslow. With the help of this funding, the organisation will be able to continue providing vital services to those in the most remote areas of the Peak District and play a part in maintaining important transport links across the North as we emerge from the pandemic.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.