THE familiar blue buses of Sureline will soon disappear from Portland’s streets after the island-based firm was bought out.

Sureline owner David Beaman said the decision to sell the company to South West Coaches of Yeovil was made to safeguard its future.

Mr Beaman blamed the move on growing government regulations for small bus firms and increasing difficulties in generating profits.

Staff gathered recently at Sureline’s headquarters in Tradecroft Industrial Estate, Portland to meet South West Coach’s managing director Alan Graham and commercial director Steve Caine.

Mr Graham told Sureline’s 30-strong team that he welcomed taking on the firm’s operations and described Portland as having ‘significant development potential’ particularly in light of the forthcoming 2012 Olympic Games.

Staff were also told that that South West Coaches has also purchased more low-floor buses as a sign of their commitment and that all Sureline services will continue to operate unaffected.

Mr Caine also announced at the meeting that South West Coaches is ‘actively investigating’ the possibility of adding new services.

Following the staff meeting, Mr Beaman explained the decision behind selling the company.

He said: “The legislative scene that regulates the operation of local bus services was making it increasingly difficult for a small company such as Sureline to operate efficiently and generate the funds necessary to invest in the bus fleet.

“Against this backdrop, Sureline’s future is now to be part of a bigger group that had the resources to further develop the services currently operated and invest in the bus fleet.”

Mr Beaman also thanked Dorset County Council for allowing all current contracts with Sureline to be transferred to the new operator.

Sureline began operating buses in August 2002 based at Southwell Business Park.

In 2006, Sureline’s operation was moved to the Tradecroft Industrial Estate, Portland.

The company currently employs 30 staff and operates a fleet of 15 buses.