ANGRY drivers at failed bus firm RH Transport were told they had lost their jobs by text, it emerged last night.
Up to 70 staff are facing up to joining the dole queue as the company officially went into administration yesterday.
The company ran a range of services across the county, including transport to schools, hospitals and commercial bus routes, until shutting down on Thursday night.
As frustrated parents battled to find alternative transport for their youngsters, Oxfordshire County Council said operators had been found to cover all school services while commercial routes would also run normally and will be provided free of charge on Monday.
John Reed, 47, from Abingdon, had driven for RH for five years.
He said: “I received a text at 11am which gave me seven hours notice on my job. This is disgusting.” Father-of-one Dave Hickey, 42, from Greater Leys, Oxford, added: “Two days before this happened I spoke to the controller who said my job was safe until April.
“I am going to look for a job as I have rent and bills to pay.”
Drivers says they are still owed a week’s wages by the company which they will have to claim back through administrators at specialist finance firm RSM Tenon. The firm confirmed RH Transport will not be sold as a going concern.
Thursday’s sudden announcement caused disruption across the county yesterday.
The 700 service from the Water Eaton park and ride to the Oxford hospitals ran on a skeleton basis but Oxford University NHS Trust said no hospital appointments had been cancelled and staff had made alternative arrangements to get to work with no traffic problems.
The county council has arranged for free Monday travel on all 14 routes formerly provided by RH Transport as part of the deals it has struck with other operators.
The school bus contracts that have been put in place will run until March next year when a further tendering process will take place.
The contract that has been awarded for the 700 service will also run until March. Contracts for all other services run until next June.
Buses for Oxford United fans travelling to the Kassam Stadium for today’s match with Gillingham have also been covered after the club struck a deal with Tappins coaches, although an appeal has gone out for fans to help collect fares. Simon Weaver, of Tappins, said: “We hope to continue beyond Saturday and build a partnership with the club.”
- Anyone with queries over the arrangements should call Oxfordshire County Council's free hotline on 0808 168 5082.
- Have you been affected by the failure of RH Transport? Call the Oxford Mail newsdesk on 01865 425500 or email email@example.com