Talks between HCT Group and Bristol Community Transport (BCT) were announced back in October and have now reached their successful conclusion with BCT joining the Group. HCT Group is one of the UK's largest and most successful social enterprises. Its CT Plus trading arm began operating in Bristol in September, delivering the A4 Bath Road Park and Ride service (route 904). It will take over the 902 service in April 2012.

As a social enterprise, HCT Group delivers a wide range of commercial transport contracts, such as route 904. It then reinvests the money it makes from those back into community transport in the areas where they work. By welcoming BCT into the Group, HCT Group now has a natural partner for that reinvestment in Bristol.

Dai Powell, HCT Group Chief Executive, commented "We are thrilled to welcome such an innovative and well known organisation into our Group. It makes perfect sense for organisations so closely aligned in values and ethos to join forces. BCT is best placed to help us connect with the communities in Bristol as we reinvest commercial profits for the greatest social impact, and we look forward to supporting them in doing so in the months and years ahead."

"Welcoming BCT into our Group demonstrates our approach to supporting the important role that community transport has to play in our society. As we expand geographically, we seek out new partners so that we can support community transport to develop and become sustainable, whilst simultaneously bringing invaluable local knowledge to the Group."

BCT has considerable local expertise, developed since its inception in 1985. The organisation currently provides minibuses that are used by over 500 not-for-profit organisations in and around Bristol, and several community bus services.

BCT will maintain all of its current services, its distinctive livery and all staff jobs. Most importantly, it means that BCT now has access to the resources and investment of the wider HCT Group, enabling it to grow.

Commenting on the announcement, Raymond Viera, Chair of BCT, said "By joining one of the leading and most successful social enterprises in the UK, we are able to expand our portfolio of transport and training services for the direct benefit of people in our communities. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to enter a new phase of growth."

BCT and HCT Group have already shown the value of taking a collaborative approach, with their business development teams beginning to work together to develop a strategy for sustainable financing.

Jan Jones, Chief Executive of BCT, added "We have been working in partnership even before we officially joined the Group, and this can only enable us to reach out to more communities in the long term."

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