Second county bus firm shuts its doors

A SECOND bus company serving Oxfordshire schools shut its doors yesterday.

Jeffs Coaches, which serves students in the Bicester and Banbury area, called in the administrators yesterday.

Oxfordshire County Council said routes will not be affected today and said it was “acting promptly” to resolve the situation. Next week is half term for most county schools.

The collapse of Brackley-based Jeffs Coaches comes just weeks after Witney firm RH Transport, which ran a range of services including school buses, went bust.

County Hall said 178 pupils were transported by Jeffs Coaches on six routes to Cropredy Primary School, St John’s Primary School in Banbury, Blessed George Napier School in Banbury and Magdalen College School in Brackley, Northamptonshire.

Jeffs Coaches is owned by Birmingham-based Bowen Travel Group.

Bicester resident Eileen Penhallow, 52, whose daughter used Jeffs Coaches to get to Blessed George Napier School, said: “If there was no bus service it would have a huge impact. Children would not be able to get to school.

“We would either have to drop her off very early or she would have to catch the train from Bicester to Banbury with all the commuters at quite a high cost and then walk up the hill.”

Cropredy Primary School governor Mark Simmons said: “The governors are very concerned about anything like this and we will be discussing it and finding out what kind of impact it will have on the school.

“It is something we are taking very seriously.”

St John’s Primary School headteacher Kevin O’Connor said: “It is a tragedy because Jeffs Coaches has served us for many years.”

RH Transport went into administration at the beginning of the month, resulting in the loss of 70 jobs and costing County Hall more than £400,000 replacing services.

Stagecoach and other firms stepped in to run 13 public routes and 30 school services.

Referring to Jeffs, Rodney Rose, county council cabinet member for transport, said: “We’re acting promptly to bring in short-term replacements.”

Administrators for Bowen Travel Group said the company had experienced a “serious cash flow crisis”.

Matt Cowlishaw, joint administrator and partner in Deloitte’s restructuring services team, said: “After exploring all possible avenues for the future of the group, it became clear that due to lack of funds it would be unable to continue to trade.”

Jeffs Coaches ran services to the following schools:

Two to Cropredy Primary School from Wardington, Claydon and Mollington.

One to St Johns Primary School in Banbury from Wardington.

Two from Bicester, Stoke Lyne and Bucknell from Blessed George Napier School in Banbury.

One to Magdalen College School in Brackley for Oxfordshire based pupils in the Mixbury area.

Comments (7)

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10:25am Fri 26 Oct 12

Victor's_friend says...

Will the council review its tendering policy for robustness if not more than opting for the cheapest quote.
Will the council review its tendering policy for robustness if not more than opting for the cheapest quote. Victor's_friend

11:05am Fri 26 Oct 12

DoctorBob says...

Oh the joys of the private sector, the saviour of all mankind..
Oh the joys of the private sector, the saviour of all mankind.. DoctorBob

12:45pm Fri 26 Oct 12

EMBOX1 says...

What a shame, Jeffs has been going for a long, long time. I guess the real impact of these fuel prices will hit be hitting home now.

So thanks to all Governments for increasing fuel tax year on year. Now we either move at a pace to a clean energy solution, or reduce fuel tax to help in the meantime.
What a shame, Jeffs has been going for a long, long time. I guess the real impact of these fuel prices will hit be hitting home now. So thanks to all Governments for increasing fuel tax year on year. Now we either move at a pace to a clean energy solution, or reduce fuel tax to help in the meantime. EMBOX1

2:48pm Fri 26 Oct 12

train passenger says...

DoctorBob wrote:
Oh the joys of the private sector, the saviour of all mankind..
Another way to ask the same question is why the UK is fundamentally unable to create high level, affordable public services in the way that other European countries can, because that is the reason they reside to these 'competitive' tenders and outsourcing deals, which then turn out to be rip-offs in the longer term.
[quote][p][bold]DoctorBob[/bold] wrote: Oh the joys of the private sector, the saviour of all mankind..[/p][/quote]Another way to ask the same question is why the UK is fundamentally unable to create high level, affordable public services in the way that other European countries can, because that is the reason they reside to these 'competitive' tenders and outsourcing deals, which then turn out to be rip-offs in the longer term. train passenger

12:02am Sat 27 Oct 12

picto68 says...

EMBOX1 wrote:
What a shame, Jeffs has been going for a long, long time. I guess the real impact of these fuel prices will hit be hitting home now.

So thanks to all Governments for increasing fuel tax year on year. Now we either move at a pace to a clean energy solution, or reduce fuel tax to help in the meantime.
Hit the nail on the head. Not just coach companies but all forms of road transport are just being priced out of existence. Fuel duty must be cut, at least on diesel, or transport companies will continue to fail!
[quote][p][bold]EMBOX1[/bold] wrote: What a shame, Jeffs has been going for a long, long time. I guess the real impact of these fuel prices will hit be hitting home now. So thanks to all Governments for increasing fuel tax year on year. Now we either move at a pace to a clean energy solution, or reduce fuel tax to help in the meantime.[/p][/quote]Hit the nail on the head. Not just coach companies but all forms of road transport are just being priced out of existence. Fuel duty must be cut, at least on diesel, or transport companies will continue to fail! picto68

1:56am Sat 27 Oct 12

Carfax Cabby says...

Correct picto, in the last 3 years our fuel has risen over 40% but the council has allowed our fares to rise 0% . The council has now relented and may if we are lucky give us an increase of 1.5% for the 3 years, although they have put up our licence fees by far more (hypocritical?) The bus companies "revise" and introduce "special" fares as and when they want with some single journeys up nearly 50% in that time. Something will have to be sacrificed for it in the end, I only hope it is not safety.
Correct picto, in the last 3 years our fuel has risen over 40% but the council has allowed our fares to rise 0% . The council has now relented and may if we are lucky give us an increase of 1.5% for the 3 years, although they have put up our licence fees by far more (hypocritical?) The bus companies "revise" and introduce "special" fares as and when they want with some single journeys up nearly 50% in that time. Something will have to be sacrificed for it in the end, I only hope it is not safety. Carfax Cabby

5:27pm Sun 28 Oct 12

davyboy says...

Victor's_friend wrote:
Will the council review its tendering policy for robustness if not more than opting for the cheapest quote.
totally agree. the council MUST take some of the responsibility for this failure. it is easy to take the cheapest option, but clearly they didn't check that the price would actually cover the service provided. fuel and wages have gone up, but to keep the work, i bet Jeffs' tendered the same price each time. proper financial checks should be made by the council before tenders are accepted. when you deal with these private companies, rather than the larger ones like stagecoach or the oxford bus company, you really need to ensure that they can cover their costs.
[quote][p][bold]Victor's_friend[/bold] wrote: Will the council review its tendering policy for robustness if not more than opting for the cheapest quote.[/p][/quote]totally agree. the council MUST take some of the responsibility for this failure. it is easy to take the cheapest option, but clearly they didn't check that the price would actually cover the service provided. fuel and wages have gone up, but to keep the work, i bet Jeffs' tendered the same price each time. proper financial checks should be made by the council before tenders are accepted. when you deal with these private companies, rather than the larger ones like stagecoach or the oxford bus company, you really need to ensure that they can cover their costs. davyboy

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