RH TRANSPORT: Bus drivers told they had lost jobs by text

Banbury Cake: RH Transport's logo RH Transport's logo

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 news@oxfordmail.co.uk

Comments (6)

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10:34am Sat 6 Oct 12

Myron Blatz says...

As with many closures like this, employees are hit the hardest - little or no prior warning, and often with moneys owed being delayed for weeks and months, if paid at all. Despite all the bull-droppings which trade unions pump-out about why people should join their particular union, going on-strike or taking 'industrial action' ain't much use if the employer has gone broke. Also, why didn't Oxfordshire County Council have adequate safeguards in its contract with RH, and why wasn't the company checked-out for financial soundness - if you like, a commercial 'CRB' to make sure that the cheapest Tender isn't also the one with the greatest liabilities? Time to get rid of the people at the top of County Council who supposedly had responsibility for buses and transport, like the Government has been forced to do with regard to the awarding of rail franchises.
As with many closures like this, employees are hit the hardest - little or no prior warning, and often with moneys owed being delayed for weeks and months, if paid at all. Despite all the bull-droppings which trade unions pump-out about why people should join their particular union, going on-strike or taking 'industrial action' ain't much use if the employer has gone broke. Also, why didn't Oxfordshire County Council have adequate safeguards in its contract with RH, and why wasn't the company checked-out for financial soundness - if you like, a commercial 'CRB' to make sure that the cheapest Tender isn't also the one with the greatest liabilities? Time to get rid of the people at the top of County Council who supposedly had responsibility for buses and transport, like the Government has been forced to do with regard to the awarding of rail franchises. Myron Blatz

10:35am Sat 6 Oct 12

DoctorBob says...

Ah, the wonderful private sector, saviour of mankind.
Ah, the wonderful private sector, saviour of mankind. DoctorBob

11:07am Sat 6 Oct 12

West Oxon Webwatcher says...

- - - and the wonderful public sector that got services back again within a couple of days after the private sector failure. Just one of the costs of privatisation that is never counted by the advocates of privatisation. I now wonder how much the reallocation of these bus services will cost the council tax payer in the form of higher contract costs.
- - - and the wonderful public sector that got services back again within a couple of days after the private sector failure. Just one of the costs of privatisation that is never counted by the advocates of privatisation. I now wonder how much the reallocation of these bus services will cost the council tax payer in the form of higher contract costs. West Oxon Webwatcher

10:36pm Sat 6 Oct 12

My Kingdom for an 'Orse says...

Oh dear! How so not polite, to inform by text. I who drove for McLean’s was not informed at all, but I suspected, as we all did., that the end was nigh. But for the sake of parents, children, and the school, continued I to drive , even though I knew there would be no payment for it. Very commendable of me don’t you think? Well I don’t think so, it’s just that I have some sense of the common good that I’m willing to contribute to, for the sake of humanity that we all seem to pool into. But working for nothing for RH is another matter , and one which lies sore with me to this day , as so conveniently neglectful were they to pay me for much of what I did. This seeming neglect of obligation on their part seemed itself to spread to me, whereon I forgot to wake for work one morn, but appearing later as I did, I lighted on another depot, called McLeans , where so many other disaffected RH drivers had gone before me. If my memory serves me right, as it sometimes fails me, I think I forgot to fuel a bus. This bus the boss (as he was called by some) did take, but in it, he got far not., and in the phone call of great wrath from his underling which subsequently followed, I thought justice is now on my behalf served. It’s amazing how we can so conveniently inconvenience each other by our memory loss. I mean, if they can forget to pay me for what I do, then I can forget to do what I do.
Oh dear! How so not polite, to inform by text. I who drove for McLean’s was not informed at all, but I suspected, as we all did., that the end was nigh. But for the sake of parents, children, and the school, continued I to drive , even though I knew there would be no payment for it. Very commendable of me don’t you think? Well I don’t think so, it’s just that I have some sense of the common good that I’m willing to contribute to, for the sake of humanity that we all seem to pool into. But working for nothing for RH is another matter , and one which lies sore with me to this day , as so conveniently neglectful were they to pay me for much of what I did. This seeming neglect of obligation on their part seemed itself to spread to me, whereon I forgot to wake for work one morn, but appearing later as I did, I lighted on another depot, called McLeans , where so many other disaffected RH drivers had gone before me. If my memory serves me right, as it sometimes fails me, I think I forgot to fuel a bus. This bus the boss (as he was called by some) did take, but in it, he got far not., and in the phone call of great wrath from his underling which subsequently followed, I thought justice is now on my behalf served. It’s amazing how we can so conveniently inconvenience each other by our memory loss. I mean, if they can forget to pay me for what I do, then I can forget to do what I do. My Kingdom for an 'Orse

6:48pm Sun 7 Oct 12

coachman1 says...

Maybe if RH & McLeans did not drive the school contract price down so low by working with the young man that worked at OCC at the time school contracts were awarded they would still be operating today. I understand that some school contracts that RH operated for about £145 per day have been awarded for up to £300 per day.
I feel sorry for the operator's that are trying operate school contracts for less than £140 per day just so they have contracts to operate this was the price they were getting 20 years ago. Lets hope they are not the next to go or OCC will not have the operators to transport the children to school.
Maybe if RH & McLeans did not drive the school contract price down so low by working with the young man that worked at OCC at the time school contracts were awarded they would still be operating today. I understand that some school contracts that RH operated for about £145 per day have been awarded for up to £300 per day. I feel sorry for the operator's that are trying operate school contracts for less than £140 per day just so they have contracts to operate this was the price they were getting 20 years ago. Lets hope they are not the next to go or OCC will not have the operators to transport the children to school. coachman1

5:42pm Mon 8 Oct 12

Wilma1 says...

I feel for the drivers and their families. I hope they are all able to get a job again
I feel for the drivers and their families. I hope they are all able to get a job again Wilma1

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