YELLOW Buses says it has been boosting the Dorset and Hampshire economy by hiring local firms since it was brought back into Bournemouth ownership six months ago.

The business – which was sold off by Bournemouth council 14 years ago – was bought by a trio of directors from its French owners in July.

Managing director David Squire, commercial director Simon Newport and service delivery director Phil Pannell are all experienced busmen.

Yellow Buses says the buyout has enabled it to innovate faster, invest more quickly and react rapidly to customer demands.

Away from corporate ownership, it says it is also freer to hire local businesses. It recently instructed Bournemouth company Ward Goodman to be its accountants and it is banking with a local HSBC branch.

Its new IT company is Amicus IT based in Totton. It uses Tower Supplies in Poole for its uniforms and it partnered with local companies Alfatronix and TWF for the lighting and graphics on its Christmas-themed open top bus.

Managing director David Squire said: “Being locally owned means we are much more agile, can make decisions much more quickly and can react faster to situations.

“We are able to try things out to see if they work and this is made easier by working with local businesses who operate in the same geographical area.

“Since the buyout in July it has been a steep learning curve but six months in and we are at a place from where we can push on.”

In September, the company notched up one million contactless payments and now nearly half of all on-board transactions are made without cash.

Mr Squire said: “We want to make it easier for passengers to use the buses and now they can use the app, smart card, cash or contactless.

“A year after introducing contactless payment 44 per cent of transactions were done using this method, and the number is going up all the time. We also sell the Bournemouth Town Centre gift card and passengers can use them at our travel shop to buy tickets.”

Yellow Buses employs around 400 people and has a monthly You’re A Star award for employees who go that little bit further.

It also works alongside AFC Bournemouth driving safety lessons in to schools and has given away more than £30,000 to local charities through its Carbon Stoppers initiative over a number of years.

But Mr Squire said the new management had made the most difference on the roads. “We extended the 1a service to New Milton in April and it proved so successful we doubled the frequency of that service in September,” he said.

“In five months that service recorded 35,000 passenger journeys. We have also extended the Number 6 to Wimborne and are now carrying students from QE School.

“The 21 service has also been introduced and that links Christchurch with Somerford, Burton and Bransgore. We introduced this service after a previous operator withdrew.

“Our Buster’s Beach bus open-topper from Boscombe to Sandbanks this summer carried 96,000 people. And the Christmas open-topper that took passengers through the Christmas Tree Wonderland in Bournemouth proved to be a huge success.

“Our Jet Bus to the airport is now firmly established and the single decker has been replaced with a double decker due to the demand. And we also partnered with Brownsea Island Ferries to link our services.”