Sir Brian Souter’s bus company threatened to launch a legal action against the country of Wales over a proposed reduction in subsidies.
Stagecoach, which is Wales’ biggest bus operator, claimed the government’s proposed cuts to the government’s concessionary bus pass programme were “brutal, flawed and unlawful”.
The company said it has issued a deadline of April 1 to the government to “re-think its decision” to set a new rate at which bus operators are reimbursed.
Stagecoach claimed the cuts would result in a £24million reduction in the scheme’s budget.
John Gould, managing director of Stagecoach in Wales, said: “The Welsh government has so far refused to listen to warnings from bus operators, passengers, public transport campaigners and community groups. Legal action is a last resort and we have written to the Welsh government to give them an opportunity to rethink their decision. We want to protect people from the devastating impact of these brutal, flawed and unlawful cuts.
“The government has broken the key stated principle that bus operators are properly and fully reimbursed for the costs of participating in the mandatory scheme. It has effectively rewritten the rules to its own specification and to suit its own purposes while dressing up the changes as the result of an independent review. The damage will be felt all across Wales and people are rightly angry.”
Mr Gould added: “From housing estates to the high street, the government’s cuts are an attack on daily life in Wales. It will directly lead to significant cuts to bus services.
“There will be an even wider impact as the fall-out will hit the most vulnerable and affect living standards for the poorest in our communities.
“Ministers will be collectively responsible for job losses and cutting people off from accessing vital education, employment and health facilities.”
Legal letters have also been sent to local authorities across the country.
A Welsh government spokesman said: “The new rate, recommended by an independent review, maintains the principle that bus operators who take part in the scheme are no better and no worse off.
“Any operator who believes they may be adversely affected by a local authority’s reimbursement arrangements have the right to appeal to Welsh ministers.”