A COMPANY which ferries hundreds of thousands of tourists around the famous streets of York every year has been sold.

Top Line Travel, run by husband and wife-team Peter and Susan Dew, has been snapped up by Harrogate-based travel operator Transdev Blazefield for an undisclosed sum.

They will now take over the running of the City Sightseeing tour bus franchise, which has been operated by the Dews' Fulford firm for the last eight years, within the next few weeks.

Transdev Blazefield already owns the Yorkshire Coastliner and Harrogate and District Travel groups, which both run services through York, as well as a string of other companies across the north of England.

Having been set up by Peter and Susan eight years ago, Top Line Travel became the first City Sightseeing operator in the UK, and currently has a fleet of ten open-top buses which provide visitors with a multi-lingual tour around York's historic attractions. The company also runs seven school and local route buses.

"We've always believed in providing a high-quality service and I'm very proud of the fact we introduced low-emission, easy-access buses to York city tours," said 56-year-old Peter.

"But now we need the backing of a bigger group to further the next stage of our development and we're delighted to be joining Transdev Blazefield, which is widely recognised as one of the best bus companies in the country.

"This move offers excellent opportunities and a secure future for our loyal and hardworking staff - we employ 20 full-time and 30 part-time workers. We wouldn't have just sold out to anybody and I'm sure the company will be in good hands."

Susan will remain involved with the business for a while, but says she is looking forward to taking up "a less demanding role" in the future, adding: "It's been very enjoyable, but it's taken up a huge part of our lives for a long time."

Meanwhile, Peter will continue to play a part in the York tourism scene after Transdev Blazefield take over, but admits the new scenario will take some getting used to.

"As our own bosses, it's been nice not to have to wait for somebody else to make decisions and for us to be able to say we're going to do this'," he said.

"That will go now, but I'm happy that Transdev think the way we think.

"I'm a York lad and I've seen the city change to the point where tourism is now its number one industry."

Transdev Blazefield managing director David Alexander said: "We're delighted to have reached agreement with Peter and Susan to purchase Top Line Travel and very much look forward to working with the staff based at York and to strengthening the relationship with City of York Council as we further develop the business."

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