Great Western Coffee Shop

All across the Great Western territory => Buses and other ways to travel => Topic started by: bignosemac on October 30, 2017, 12:17:26 am



Title: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on October 30, 2017, 12:17:26 am
A question mark in the thread title because of the unusual way the MD of Nippy Bus chose to announce the closure of the business.

The following is a quote from a post on the Nippy Bus Facebook page purportedly from the MD:

Quote
There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you have had enough.

I have had enough and realise I cannot work with you, the people I employ, a moment longer.

There still comes a time in any relationship when you just have to say “f*** it”, say goodbye and move one.

I am quitting to pursue my dream of not having to work here.

Nippy Bus has ceased operational activity with immediate effect, October 29 2017. All staff should now consider themselves dismissed/redundant.

The gates are now closed and will not open so you can stay in your scratchers Monday and have a lie in.

The company has appointed agents who will now work to realise the company’s assets and discharge its liabilities.

The post and page have now been deleted. If that really was posted by the MD then it's a dispicable way to treat your staff. And seemingly sticking two fingers up to Somerset County Council (SCC) by making the announcement late on a Sunday.

Nippy Bus ran tendered services for SCC, serving schools, colleges and rural communities. Along with a few commercial routes in Yeovil/South Somerset. It looks like that, yet again, SCC will be frantically looking to other operators to cover tendered services.

The writing was on the wall last week after a number of services failed to turn up with the operator blaming "driver shortages". Well, if the Facebook post is representative of the management attitude at Nippy Bus then I'm not surprised they've lost drivers.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: grahame on October 30, 2017, 02:34:24 am
A question mark in the thread title because of the unusual way the MD of Nippy Bus chose to announce the closure of the business.

I have moved this topic to "The Rumour Mill", and changed the title of the redirection too;   I saw a copy of the announcement elsewhere during the evening, and questioned whether it was genuine.  If it proved genuine, I''ll move the thread back ... if it turns out to be a malicious prank (another possibility) then the last thing the MD wants is to have the prank propagated - he's probably got enough problems without fake news readable by all and sundry!


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on October 30, 2017, 04:24:15 am
Well, the MD has more to worry about than the odd forum posting about his company. I did pick up the story from the local press. I was intending to include a link to the news item but the forum went down as I was editing my post.

http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/somerset-news/online-post-suggests-nippy-bus-698440

Also, the full Facebook post included contact details for staff to collect personal belongings from the depot. That I didn't include for obvious reasons.

The Nippy Bus twitter account has also disappeared.

I believe the story to be genuine and not rumour. My questioning was merely about the way the announcement was made.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: TaplowGreen on October 30, 2017, 05:34:04 am
When I first read that quote my heart leapt.....I thought it may have been from Hopwood's resignation speech...............it was only when I saw "Nippy Bus" that I realised it was from elsewhere!  :D


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: grahame on October 30, 2017, 05:44:30 am
Well, the MD has more to worry about than the odd forum posting about his company. I did pick up the story from the local press. I was intending to include a link to the news item but the forum went down as I was editing my post.

http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/somerset-news/online-post-suggests-nippy-bus-698440

Also, the full Facebook post included contact details for staff to collect personal belongings from the depot. That I didn't include for obvious reasons.

The Nippy Bus twitter account has also disappeared.

I believe the story to be genuine and not rumour. My questioning was merely about the way the announcement was made.


Taking a further look / further consideration, I now agree it probably is genuine.   That announcement was very very odd - and was all I had picked up prior to your post.   Story is covered at Somerset Live (http://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/somerset-news/online-post-suggests-nippy-bus-698440) but that starts "online post suggests" ... so still leaves us 'single source'.  Twitter under #nippybus also links back to same source.  On the probably appearance of a confirmation, I'll move this thread back with an apology from me for my "knee-jerk" reaction a couple of hours back.  

Edit also searched Facebook ... stories there all point back to same social media post.  Watching ...


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: grahame on October 30, 2017, 07:46:31 am
Confirmed on the NippyBus website - front page now

(http://www.wellho.net/pix/nippy_welcome.jpg)

Thread restored onto a public board - sorry I jumped and moved it prior to confirmation; news came out in a very odd way that made me reason to doubt its validity and classify it as "rumour".  Rumour confirmed!


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: richwarwicker on October 30, 2017, 08:07:09 am
The number of operators who base their model on council tendered routes that are failing is concerning.

Are they going too cheap and not allowing for base cost increases. Fuel has increased by close to 10p a litre in recent weeks.
The council are legally required to award to cheapest operator.
I know of an operator in cornwall who have done their council tenders based on drivers being paid minimum wage, and fuel prices on the day the figures were put together with no room for increase. The operators seem overly desperate for these low earning routes.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: broadgage on October 30, 2017, 09:23:49 am
Considering the rather unusual way in which the news was released, and the consequent initial doubts about its veracity, I wonder how long before someone puts out a similar but fake news release about some other transport operator ?

Returning to the bus operator, does anyone know when the staff should last have been paid ? and if the wages due were in fact paid ? The last Friday of the month, or the 28th of the month are both common pay dates.
A lack of money to pay wages cant normally be concealed for more than a day "failure of our banks IT systems"  and "technical error" excuses are seldom believed.

I would expect that some bus drivers might have been tempted to retain the vehicles in lieu of wages in such circumstances, hence the desire to get vehicles back to the depot before the news breaks.
Non driving staff might be tempted to retain other company property, again a good reason to get everyone off the premises first.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on October 30, 2017, 09:53:17 am
I would expect that some bus drivers might have been tempted to retain the vehicles in lieu of wages in such circumstances, hence the desire to get vehicles back to the depot before the news breaks.
Non driving staff might be tempted to retain other company property, again a good reason to get everyone off the premises first.

They might be tempted to, but they'd end up having a chat in the 'wrong' side of the local police station if they did. Especially if it was something as valuable as a bus worth many many more times than a drivers monthly/weekly salary. Still belongs to the company until the administrators have sold the assets and is a theft if retained. The only way you can legally get back what you're owed is by registering as a creditor with the administrator, wages would normally be one of the higher priorities.

Based on some people I've worked with in the past, I can understand why the MD might've reacted in this way. It could very well be the way some of the staff have behaved has directly contributed to the failure of the company. Who knows, but it's a free world, a private company, the chap can spout off as he wishes as long as it's nothing illegal.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: richwarwicker on October 30, 2017, 09:59:27 am
I would expect that some bus drivers might have been tempted to retain the vehicles in lieu of wages in such circumstances, hence the desire to get vehicles back to the depot before the news breaks.
Non driving staff might be tempted to retain other company property, again a good reason to get everyone off the premises first.

They might be tempted to, but they'd end up having a chat in the 'wrong' side of the local police station if they did. Especially if it was something as valuable as a bus worth many many more times than a drivers monthly/weekly salary. Still belongs to the company until the administrators have sold the assets and is a theft if retained. The only way you can legally get back what you're owed is by registering as a creditor with the administrator, wages would normally be one of the higher priorities.

Based on some people I've worked with in the past, I can understand why the MD might've reacted in this way. It could very well be the way some of the staff have behaved has directly contributed to the failure of the company. Who knows, but it's a free world, a private company, the chap can spout off as he wishes as long as it's nothing illegal.

I’m not sure your quite right. When western greyhound failed, a engineering firm who had a bus on their premises retained that vehicle as security for payment, and the administrators confirmed this in their report.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on October 30, 2017, 11:31:03 am
I would expect that some bus drivers might have been tempted to retain the vehicles in lieu of wages in such circumstances, hence the desire to get vehicles back to the depot before the news breaks.
Non driving staff might be tempted to retain other company property, again a good reason to get everyone off the premises first.

They might be tempted to, but they'd end up having a chat in the 'wrong' side of the local police station if they did. Especially if it was something as valuable as a bus worth many many more times than a drivers monthly/weekly salary. Still belongs to the company until the administrators have sold the assets and is a theft if retained. The only way you can legally get back what you're owed is by registering as a creditor with the administrator, wages would normally be one of the higher priorities.

Based on some people I've worked with in the past, I can understand why the MD might've reacted in this way. It could very well be the way some of the staff have behaved has directly contributed to the failure of the company. Who knows, but it's a free world, a private company, the chap can spout off as he wishes as long as it's nothing illegal.

I’m not sure your quite right. When western greyhound failed, a engineering firm who had a bus on their premises retained that vehicle as security for payment, and the administrators confirmed this in their report.

It's probably different for another company - they may well have something in their T&C's stating that the vehicle is retained until payment is received in full - fairly normal for car repairs also. Vehicle may be sold on after x amount of time to recover repair and storage costs etc. They were lucky to have the bus in their possession when the company ceased trading rather than having to become a creditor or simply writing off the debt.

An individual will not have any right in their employment contract to retain any company property after it has been terminated, in fact most employment contracts state that all company property is to be returned when the contact is terminated by either party, which is what happens when a company ceases trading. After this point I believe they become a creditor, unless the company is being run by the administrator as a going concern, which doesn't sound like the case in this instance. I don't see what a now ex-employee could possibly do with a now uninsured bus with no valid operators licence and no registration documents...? Seems like theft to me and I suspect, if involved, the police would view it in a similar light, in addition to assorted road traffic offences committed.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on October 30, 2017, 11:34:31 am
Many children and students across south and mid Somerset, and north west Dorset, were left without school/college transport this morning.

Many rural communities have lost their only public transport link to Yeovil or Taunton.

Both Somerset and Dorset County Councils are in emergency talks with other operators to arrange cover for the Nippy Bus tendered school/college services.

Buses of Somerset (First Bus) have issued a statement (see attached) saying they are in talks with SCC.  


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: didcotdean on October 30, 2017, 12:13:50 pm
It's probably different for another company - they may well have something in their T&C's stating that the vehicle is retained until payment is received in full - fairly normal for car repairs also. Vehicle may be sold on after x amount of time to recover repair and storage costs etc. They were lucky to have the bus in their possession when the company ceased trading rather than having to become a creditor or simply writing off the debt.

Garages where repair / maintenance bills are unpaid would be covered by relevant clauses within their T&Cs regarding a lien over a vehicle or even as a common law bailment if the T&Cs are silent on the matter (unikely).


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Bmblbzzz on October 30, 2017, 12:20:46 pm
It's an amazing way to close down a company. Sure it's a private company and the owner can do what they decide with it, but there must have been a clause in the operator's contract with Somerset CC requiring notice of eg a month to terminate the contract. Presumably with a penalty clause attached, but I wonder how high a priority that is in the creditors' claims?


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: ChrisB on October 30, 2017, 12:31:47 pm
Doubt any penalty clause - and unenforceable if they can show that they're in administration (bust) anyway


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: froome on October 30, 2017, 01:38:58 pm
Many children and students across south and mid Somerset, and north west Dorset, were left without school/college transport this morning.

Many rural communities have lost their only public transport link to Yeovil or Taunton.

Both Somerset and Dorset County Councils are in emergency talks with other operators to arrange cover for the Nippy Bus tendered school/college services.

Buses of Somerset (First Bus) have issued a statement (see attached) saying they are in talks with SCC.  

Reading through the comments about it being theft if the driver kept the vehicle, I wonder what might have happened if a driver did that and turned out today to do the school run voluntarily they would have been employed to do previously.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on October 30, 2017, 01:50:39 pm
Many children and students across south and mid Somerset, and north west Dorset, were left without school/college transport this morning.

Many rural communities have lost their only public transport link to Yeovil or Taunton.

Both Somerset and Dorset County Councils are in emergency talks with other operators to arrange cover for the Nippy Bus tendered school/college services.

Buses of Somerset (First Bus) have issued a statement (see attached) saying they are in talks with SCC.  

Reading through the comments about it being theft if the driver kept the vehicle, I wonder what might have happened if a driver did that and turned out today to do the school run voluntarily they would have been employed to do previously.

Lots of potential trouble with the police. No insurance, no operators licence, possible taking without consent. I'm sure other offences could be found, especially as your example includes children/minors.

I don't see how a driver could keep a vehicle anyway, as it is a requirement of an operators licence that commercial vehicles are kept at designated premises - you simply cannot park up a PCV or LGV or any other vehicle that requires an o-licence on a random street outside your house, unless for the purposes of its work be that carrying passengers, making deliveries etc.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Western Pathfinder on October 30, 2017, 06:10:17 pm
If the person who keeps the vehicle is a bus driver  & he or she has the correct license to drive said vehicle whilst in the employ of the company then no offence has been committed
Provided that  the vehicle in question is stored in a private place not on the public highways
And is not used for any purpose whatsoever
AND THAT the owner of said vehicle is made aware of the fact that the vehicle in question has been seized by the person in relation to the debt e.g. Unpaid wages
The person who has seized the vehicle must make it plainly clear that there is no intent to permanently deprive the owner of the vehicle.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: grahame on October 30, 2017, 07:08:14 pm
Some answers from ITV West Country News (http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/2017-10-30/bus-companys-website-says-it-has-closed-after-message-from-owner/)

Quote
Nippy Bus drivers ITV has spoken to say they are disgusted.

They are hoping they will still be paid for the hours they have worked this month.

According to the drivers the company has 17 buses.

Somerset County Council is working to ensure the schools and colleges whose students relied on Nippy Bus will have transport tomorrow.

Hundreds of students were without transport this morning.

The authority says it is confident contingency measures will be in place in time.

Somerset County Council says it was given no prior notice of Nippy Bus' decision to close.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: ellendune on October 30, 2017, 08:41:26 pm
It's an amazing way to close down a company. Sure it's a private company and the owner can do what they decide with it, but there must have been a clause in the operator's contract with Somerset CC requiring notice of eg a month to terminate the contract. Presumably with a penalty clause attached, but I wonder how high a priority that is in the creditors' claims?

If the company was insolvent then they would have no choice.  It is illegal to trade while insolvent. 


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Chris from Nailsea on October 30, 2017, 08:53:11 pm
... and that, I suspect, was the trigger for the closure.  :-X

At the end of the half term holiday, with most (if not all) of the coaches parked securely on company premises, that would make the job easier for the administrators.



Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on October 30, 2017, 09:51:25 pm
... and that, I suspect, was the trigger for the closure.  :-X

At the end of the half term holiday, with most (if not all) of the coaches parked securely on company premises, that would make the job easier for the administrators.

... and harder for the local authorities.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on October 30, 2017, 10:12:11 pm
... and that, I suspect, was the trigger for the closure.  :-X

At the end of the half term holiday, with most (if not all) of the coaches parked securely on company premises, that would make the job easier for the administrators.

... and harder for the local authorities.

You seem to misunderstand the process of a company becoming insolvent. It's not about making life easier or harder for a customer. It's all about the administrator obtaining as much value as possible from the companies assets in order to pay off as many creditors as possible.

Either way, once the administrators are called in and the company declared insolvent, as a previous poster correctly stated they simply cannot continue to trade in any way shape or form once that declaration has been made.

Perhaps the LA should've done more due diligence into the financial durability of their provider as part of the tendering process if they were concerned about long term ability to provide a service. That is fairly common practice during a tender process.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on October 30, 2017, 11:15:36 pm
If there is any due diligence, then Somerset County Council are seemingly not very good at it.

Webberbus
Avalon Coaches
Coombs Travel
Nippy Bus

 


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: ChrisB on October 31, 2017, 08:22:39 am
"any" being the operative word here. I doubt it.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: richwarwicker on October 31, 2017, 08:51:10 am
I learnt yesterday from a licence holder friend LAs have a legal obligation to go with the lowest price. If you have a o licence and bus and start bidding £100, they have to accept that.
Nippy bus undercut various operators including First to get these contracts, if you can undercut a national operator who has commercial routes that can cover and allow a lower profit margin on tenders you are probably too cheap.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on October 31, 2017, 09:22:54 am
I learnt yesterday from a licence holder friend LAs have a legal obligation to go with the lowest price. If you have a o licence and bus and start bidding £100, they have to accept that.
Nippy bus undercut various operators including First to get these contracts, if you can undercut a national operator who has commercial routes that can cover and allow a lower profit margin on tenders you are probably too cheap.

More fool the LA (or whoever dreamt up that stupid rule) in that case! If getting school kids to school reliably (and safely of course) meant anything to anyone, it would surely be common sense ensure that the incumbent contract holder could survive at least until the end of the current academic year and have sufficient cash reserves to maintain their fleet with no expense spared. Buy cheap, buy twice as the saying goes...but then LA's thrive on wasting our council tax money in this sort of way!


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: stuving on October 31, 2017, 09:43:33 am
I learnt yesterday from a licence holder friend LAs have a legal obligation to go with the lowest price. If you have a o licence and bus and start bidding £100, they have to accept that.

I doubt that. I can't find any evidence for it, either. The pre-2000 rules came close, saying the authority had to make "the most effective and economic application of the funds available for paying subsidies", but even that wasn't solely cost. The revised rules allowed for "best value" and for an authority's bus strategy, environmental factors etc.

It looks as if the EU public contracting model has recently been extended down to this level, and that allows for all manner of (obviously relevant) factors. However, the list of categories of service in The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 does not include transport - so I'm not 100% sure.

I suspect it's more a matter of LAs being very short of cash, and citing an out-of-date rule as an excuse for just saving money. They (officials and councilors) will always have to justify their use of money as "best vale" in some sense, and may well be scared of being caught without enough justification - so they retreat to the always-defensible position of "well at least it was cheapest".

But if anyone can find a law that says there is such a rule, I'd be interested to see it.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: martyjon on October 31, 2017, 12:00:12 pm
The Insolvency law states that once an insolvent position is known or should have been known it is an offence to continue trading. Have you ever heard of directors of an insolvent business being prosecuted for insolvent trading, I have'nt. Many businesses which subsequently fold have continued to trade whilst insolvent and plead that they felt the business could trade out of the insolvent position.

Take Fairpak, the Christmas hamper business a few years ago, another company within the holding companys portfolio was insolvent and monies being deposited by savers in Fairpak was being diverted to prop-up that failing subsidiary business.

Take Woolworths, a business doesn't rack up net liabilities of £800 million overnight.

Take Rover Group, BMW sold the business to a group of businessmen for a £1. These businessmen then proceeded to transfer the valuable assets of the group to other companies controlled by themselves and subsequently these assets were removed from the Rover Group Balance Sheet and thus bankrupting the company. The Insolvency Service investigated but could do nothing as no wrong had been done in law. The businessmens story was that the Rover group were were in business to make cars and not to run a real estate business.

The BHS case is a different story but one which should have been handled more firmly than it has been. HMG should have sent out the RN o hunt down these 4 super yachts the Green owned. if they were on the high seas boarded them and towed them back to say Portsmouth. If they were in a foreign marina had the relevent nations martime authorities put a detention order placed on them. Then for HMG to spell out to Green that his super yachts would be auctioned and the proceeds credited to the BHS pension fund.

As it was HMG missed a number of opportunities to detain Green on his frequent visits to the UK and with the threat of being 'banged-up' he would have 'coughed-up' fully the dosh wanted by the pension regulator to plug the hole in the BHS pension fund. 


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Tim on October 31, 2017, 12:05:13 pm
I suspect that there is not a law saying you have to go with the lowest price, but the law certainly requires that the bids be considered fairly and equally so if you are going to look at factors other than price you can't just go with your gut feeling of how stable and reliable the company is, it all needs to be quantified objectively which means extra work and no guarantee of getting it right.  I suspect the Council and the bidders are ill equipped to do this.  If the DfT with all its resources can award a rail franchise wrongly and be defeated in a legal challenge, it going to be difficult to persuade a council awarding a small value contract to take anything other than the simple headline price into account.  


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: stuving on October 31, 2017, 12:38:08 pm
In principle, if you specify what you need exactly, and reject any bids that don't comply, you could reasonably take the lowest price bid and ignore any extras that were offered in it. Life isn't often like that, but it can come close, and of course comparing two numbers is relatively easy. However, I would hope that local authorities, who do a lot of contracting, can cope with assessing a range of other factors.

What is genuinely difficult is judging the credibility of a bidder, and justifying not believing their offer. I suppose that in theory it's their own loss if they get it wrong, and that should hold for big bidders. However, the existence of limited liability means it's not just their loss in the case of a small company'. And it's not unheard of for the boss of a small company to take a desperate lunge at landing a job as the last chance of avoiding failure.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: richwarwicker on October 31, 2017, 04:26:21 pm
For the financial repute element of holding an o licence for buses the operator is supposed to have an amount per vehicle in reserve funds. £4000 or £5000 I believe it is per vehicle. A council should be able to assume this is the case.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on October 31, 2017, 05:28:52 pm
The requirement of a bond from the operator could be written into the tender contract.

Won't prevent insolvency on the part of the operator, but could shield the LA from having to dip into their emergency contingency funding to organise short notice cover. 


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: ChrisB on October 31, 2017, 06:11:26 pm
Presumably in that case, operators go bust sooner, if they can't fall back on their bond?

By the time the council use this bond for relief buses, you're presumably at the same date as if the operator had spent their bond before going bust?


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on October 31, 2017, 07:06:43 pm
Huh? I'm suggesting the contractor has to give the LA a bond. It won't be the contractors to use to stave off insolvency. These could be bonds similar to those required by the ATOL scheme.

The bond is there to protect the public purse from further unreclaimable expense.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: richwarwicker on October 31, 2017, 07:47:29 pm
the NippyBus N9 between Martock and Yeovil replaced First S&A (as then was) Service 52 over that route so it seems that things will go back to how they were but will incorporate the route of Service N8.

SWC had the 667 previously before loosing it to NippyBus on tender.

As for the 669 Frome Minibuses had it previously but haven't operated it since 12th June 2016 after which NippyBus took it over under tender from SCC.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: ChrisB on November 01, 2017, 08:56:15 am
Huh? I'm suggesting the contractor has to give the LA a bond. It won't be the contractors to use to stave off insolvency. These could be bonds similar to those required by the ATOL scheme.

And I'm not querying that either.
Where do they get the funding from gfor this bond? Yup, their cash reserves, which are then depleted by the amount of the bond, and thus they have less cash to run their buses. Thus they go bust sooner.

The bond then covers replacement buses, and would probably expire (used p) by the time the company would have gone bust if there was no bond & they spent the same cash keeping their operation going that much longer. Swings & roundabouts.




Edit note: Quote marks fixed, purely in the interests of clarity. CfN.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Bmblbzzz on November 01, 2017, 09:27:21 am
And if the operators were making a profit it wouldn't matter. That they don't is a symptom of wider problems in transport, public and private.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: ChrisB on November 01, 2017, 09:29:53 am
yup - we should pay more council tax so that these companies can make a profit.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: ellendune on November 01, 2017, 09:31:30 am
Huh? I'm suggesting the contractor has to give the LA a bond. It won't be the contractors to use to stave off insolvency. These could be bonds similar to those required by the ATOL scheme.

And I'm not querying that either.
Where do they get the funding from gfor this bond? Yup, their cash reserves, which are then depleted by the amount of the bond, and thus they have less cash to run their buses. Thus they go bust sooner.

The bond then covers replacement buses, and would probably expire (used p) by the time the company would have gone bust if there was no bond & they spent the same cash keeping their operation going that much longer. Swings & roundabouts.

The company might not need to put down the capital. Bonds can be bought a bit like an insurance policy. That would mean some companies would have to pay higher premiums than others - and some companies would be considered uninsurable. That would obviously then be factored into the tender, but then the tenders would all be on the basis of equal risk to the local authority and to the travelling public.  

I hope I corrected the quotes in my quote correctly




Edit note: Yes, you did. I've now corrected the quote marks in the previous post, too, in the interests of clarity. CfN.  ;)


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: ellendune on November 01, 2017, 09:33:46 am
yup - we should pay more council tax so that these companies can make a profit.

The problem seems to be that they do not make a profit at all - that is why so many of them are going bust!  And leaving the local authority to pick up the bill. 


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: ChrisB on November 01, 2017, 10:19:55 am
hence my suggestion. the taxpayer shoulders the council's expenditure, whether through the initial contract or after they go bust.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: grahame on November 01, 2017, 10:44:00 am
From the Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5038305/Bus-drivers-fury-boss-s-ve-email.htm) - their angle:

Quote
Drivers hit out at 'disgusting' bus company boss 'who spent all his time in Thailand' after he sacked entire staff by telling them: 'I can't work with you a moment longer'


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on November 01, 2017, 11:08:52 am
Remarkably restrained and un-Daily Mail like comments section on that article so far!  ???


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Bmblbzzz on November 01, 2017, 03:27:26 pm
yup - we should pay more council tax so that these companies can make a profit.
That might help Nippy Bus and other local bus operators, but what about ToCs? And although airlines don't get subsidies (at least in the conventional sense), the overall airline industry rarely if ever makes a profit.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on November 01, 2017, 03:41:49 pm
yup - we should pay more council tax so that these companies can make a profit.

No thank you. I pay more than enough for not very much already.

Reducing wastage and improving efficiency in local authorities might help a lot though.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on November 01, 2017, 03:47:29 pm
hence my suggestion. the taxpayer shoulders the council's expenditure, whether through the initial contract or after they go bust.

But not if the council has required, and got, a bond.

And as has been pointed out this bond needn't be a lump sum. There are insurance type policies for bonds. And if a prospective bidder can't, or won't, get a bond then they shouldn't be able to apply for the contract.

That said it's nice to see you once again defaulting to your, "Ooo pays? The public" stance.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: ChrisB on November 01, 2017, 04:11:51 pm
Of course the public pays, don't be 'silly' (stronger words do exist)

Whether through taxes or purchases. How else do companies (for bonds) or councils get funds? From the general public / Government/LA grant. And they get their funds through taxes (or borrowing, but taxes pay that back)


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Tim on November 01, 2017, 04:32:42 pm
Of course the public pays, don't be 'silly' (stronger words do exist)

Whether through taxes or purchases. How else do companies (for bonds) or councils get funds? From the general public / Government/LA grant. And they get their funds through taxes (or borrowing, but taxes pay that back)

I tend to agree.  It may be cheaper on the public purse for the Council to shoulder the risk of having to pay the cost of short term cover in the case of insolvency than paying higher rates so that the contractor can cover the costs of paying for a bond. 

Personally, I think this is the kind of area where privatisation simply doesn't work well.  The root problem is that ultimately the risk (of people not getting to work or kids not getting to school) falls at the door of the public sector.  Bonds etc are all artificial ways of trying to shift the risk, but they are all contrived and paid for by the public sector.  I favour a mixed economy where the private sector is left to do what it does well and the public sector does the rest.     


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on November 01, 2017, 04:43:47 pm
Meanwhile, the manner of the Nippy Bus closure was discussed today on both the Radio 4 'Today' programme and Radio 2's 'Jeremy Vine Show'.

Neither were very complimentary toward the Nippy Bus manager(s).


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on November 01, 2017, 05:02:30 pm
Nothing excuses the dispicable way the staff were made redundant, but there is a shortage of bus drivers across Somerset (and surrounding areas) at the moment.

This may be why Nippy Bus, and others, have struggled to meet their obligations.

And why is there a shortage? It's two-fold. The building of Hinkley Point C is requiring a lot of PCV licence holders to transport workers on and off site. The pay and perks offered to PCV holders can't be matched by small independent operators. The other reason is Brexit. The flow of qualified bus drivers from Europe has stopped.

The silver lining is that the drivers and mechanics at Nippy Bus should be able to secure employment elsewhere locally fairly quickly. The admin staff may not be so fortunate and will have to rely on statutory redundancy pay.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on November 01, 2017, 05:27:40 pm
A little light relief. Here's how Buses of Somerset announced the takeover of a Nippy Bus route:

(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B8VBuNEcQ7EgMnZuRzNaOGc2NUE)

I shall be driving through West Cocker tomororow!  ;D


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on November 01, 2017, 05:29:30 pm
Nothing excuses the dispicable way the staff were made redundant, but there is a shortage of bus drivers across Somerset (and surrounding areas) at the moment.

This may be why Nippy Bus, and others, have struggled to meet their obligations.

And why is there a shortage? It's two-fold. The building of Hinkley Point C is requiring a lot of PCV licence holders to transport workers on and off site. The pay and perks offered to PCV holders can't be matched by small independent operators. The other reason is Brexit. The flow of qualified bus drivers from Europe has stopped.

The silver lining is that the drivers and mechanics at Nippy Bus should be able to secure employment elsewhere locally fairly quickly. The admin staff may not be so fortunate and will have to rely on statutory redundancy pay.

To be fair, only one side of this story has been presented and it is that of the (former) employees.

I know from first hand experience that in small businesses a couple of 'difficult' employees really can cause the entire operation to fail so I can see there is a possible source for this MD's apparent frustration. I suspect something has happened to warrant such a blunt announcement of the business closing, but without being a fly on the wall it's all just conjecture. There is clearly some bad feeling between both employees and owners of this company.

I personally don't have any great opinion about the way it was announced. I'm sure he has met all regulatory/legal requirements, beyond that he can do what he wants, within the law, even if some people are offended. I'm sure the BBC were spouting forth in full professional indignation mode about this but there's really nothing anyone can do to stop him expressing his opinions.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on November 01, 2017, 05:31:10 pm
A little light relief. Here's how Buses of Somerset announced the takeover of a Nippy Bus route:

(https://drive.google.com/uc?id=0B8VBuNEcQ7EgMnZuRzNaOGc2NUE)

I shall be driving through West Cocker tomororow!  ;D

Is that near Cocker Combe? I may have a photo of our Cocker Spaniel next to the sign there...

Unfortunately the place is absolutely full of ticks. Don't take your dog there!


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 01, 2017, 06:20:43 pm
yup - we should pay more council tax so that these companies can make a profit.

No thank you. I pay more than enough for not very much already.

Reducing wastage and improving efficiency in local authorities might help a lot though.

Tax is the price we pay for living in a civilised society. Given the direction in which our society is heading, I would suggest that we are not paying enough.

For a discussion on neoliberalism, you could start here (https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/aug/18/neoliberalism-the-idea-that-changed-the-world).


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on November 01, 2017, 06:22:49 pm
I know from first hand experience that in small businesses a couple of 'difficult' employees really can cause the entire operation to fail so I can see there is a possible source for this MD's apparent frustration.

Could these 'difficult' employees be the ones justifiably asking the MD why they weren't paid on Friday 28th October? After fielding their questions over the weekend, and dealing with impending insolvency, he gets frustrated and throws his toys out of the pram.

It's interesting to note that, according to a couple of the staff, they've not been told who the 'agents appointed to discharge liabilities' are.

Quote
I'm sure the BBC were spouting forth in full professional indignation mode

The Today Programme were reporting not spouting.

There was indignation on The Jeremy Vine Show, that though came from phone-in contributors, both for and against the MD's actions. JV's contribution was a shout out to the MD to phone in and respond. Not indignant at all.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on November 01, 2017, 06:37:58 pm
yup - we should pay more council tax so that these companies can make a profit.

No thank you. I pay more than enough for not very much already.

Reducing wastage and improving efficiency in local authorities might help a lot though.

Tax is the price we pay for living in a civilised society. Given the direction in which our society is heading, I would suggest that we are not paying enough.

For a discussion on neoliberalism, you could start here (https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/aug/18/neoliberalism-the-idea-that-changed-the-world).

No thank you again, I do not dirty myself by reading The Guardian.

I said we pay enough, not that it should be reduced, and that effective savings could be made my making the local authorities (and central government for that matter) use our money more responsibly and more effectively, so I don't know why you're introducing neoliberalism to this debate.

You digress away from the original topic of debate into a discussion about political ideologies...

Back to Nippy Buses...


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on November 01, 2017, 06:48:43 pm
I know from first hand experience that in small businesses a couple of 'difficult' employees really can cause the entire operation to fail so I can see there is a possible source for this MD's apparent frustration.

Could these 'difficult' employees be the ones justifiably asking the MD why they weren't paid on Friday 28th October? After fielding their questions over the weekend, and dealing with impending insolvency, he gets frustrated and throws his toys out of the pram.

It's interesting to note that, according to a couple of the staff, they've not been told who the 'agents appointed to discharge liabilities' are.

Quote
I'm sure the BBC were spouting forth in full professional indignation mode

The Today Programme were reporting not spouting.

There was indignation on The Jeremy Vine Show, that though came from phone-in contributors, both for and against the MD's actions. JV's contribution was a shout out to the MD to phone in and respond. Not indignant at all.

I've as much idea of who any difficult employees might've been as you or under what circumstances they may have caused problems, so I will not hazard a guess. All I know is there's two sides to every story and this chap hasn't presented his for whatever reason. And the people you employ can make you or break you. Either way, it doesn't really matter, the company is finished, the jobs are gone, end of story.

There will probably be a notice placed in the company premises and it will be reported in the London Gazette and on Companies House website who the administrators are. I'm not aware of any obligation to inform all and sundry individually. It's usually up to creditors to find that out who is dealing with the insolvency. Hard to find information if you don't know how this stuff works, but I suspect it's being done by the book.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on November 01, 2017, 06:51:31 pm
No thank you again, I do not dirty myself by reading The Guardian.

I tend to read both sides of the debate to get a hopefully rounded understanding, from which to form an opinion. I don't close my mind to opposing opinions.

I don't consider I dirty myself by reading the traditionally right wing press. I would though, if I had an outdoor privy, or a cat litter tray, find an appropriate secondary use, after reading, for the likes of the The Times, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express...


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on November 01, 2017, 07:07:01 pm
No thank you again, I do not dirty myself by reading The Guardian.

I tend to read both sides of the debate to get a hopefully rounded understanding, from which to form an opinion. I don't close my mind to opposing opinions.

I don't consider I dirty myself by reading the traditionally right wing press. I would though, if I had an outdoor privy, or a cat litter tray, find an appropriate secondary use, after reading, for the likes of the The Times, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Express...

Wow, sweeping generalisations about my intellect. Appreciate that.  ::)

I intentionally worded my post such as I knew someone would be along to imply I had some leaning towards the far right of the media and sure enough the bait was taken. Quite comical really.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 01, 2017, 07:10:02 pm
I said we pay enough, not that it should be reduced, and that effective savings could be made my making the local authorities (and central government for that matter) use our money more responsibly and more effectively, so I don't know why you're introducing neoliberalism to this debate.

Actually you said you pay 'more than enough'.

I didn't introduce politics into this debate, but it is relevant because the funding of public services is a political decision.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on November 01, 2017, 07:52:34 pm
Quite comical really.

Always happy to amuse.  :P

Quote
I intentionally worded my post such as I knew someone would be along to imply I had some leaning towards the far right of the media and sure enough the bait was taken.

A perfect definition of trolling. Even down to the use of a fishing metaphor. Brilliant!

And comical too. Touché. ;D


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on November 01, 2017, 09:22:01 pm
I said we pay enough, not that it should be reduced, and that effective savings could be made my making the local authorities (and central government for that matter) use our money more responsibly and more effectively, so I don't know why you're introducing neoliberalism to this debate.

Actually you said you pay 'more than enough'.

I didn't introduce politics into this debate, but it is relevant because the funding of public services is a political decision.

What I actually said was that I pay more than enough for not very much. In other words, I feel that I do not receive value for money from my council tax. How the hell you link that with neoliberalism, I do not know.

Yes, you were the person who brought neoliberalism into this debate.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bignosemac on November 01, 2017, 09:37:24 pm
Touché.

I may have spelled that wrong.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: grahame on November 01, 2017, 09:41:40 pm
Further comment from staff published in the Yeovil Express (http://www.yeovilexpress.co.uk/news/15633690.Sacked_drivers_hit_out_at_shock_closure_of_Nippybus_and__disgusting__tirade_from_director/)

Quote
Driver Steve Atkins, 61, from Martock, Somerset, said staff were "in total shock".

"Nobody expected it," he said.

"It was a shock to see an email saying you ain't got a job tomorrow."

The company had 17 buses and operated several public bus routes across Somerset and Dorset, as well as school and college bus services.

Mr Atkins described Mr Hardy as a private man who "didn't have good relationship" with his staff.

He claimed the business had been struggling since a number of its drivers left to join larger rival companies such as FirstBus and Stagecoach in 2011.

Nippybus had been forced to cut the number of routes it operated as a result.

Sacked driver Dave English, 64, who was a driver at Nippy Bus for almost nine years, said: "It's disgusting the way it's been handled. Nobody has any respect for him.

"He wasn't a nice person to work with. You can't just bury your head the way he has done and not confront the problems.

"He knew months ago that the company was in trouble in terms of the number of drivers we had.

"Everyone was doing long shifts but he just expected us to do them.

"The memo makes it out that it's the drivers' fault that this has happened, but without us he would never have had his company.

"He was always going off to Thailand on holidays. He was never around. He let other people do his job for him.

"Some of these drivers have children and mortgages. We haven't been paid for last month's work."


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Four Track, Now! on November 01, 2017, 10:30:40 pm
Touché.

I may have spelled that wrong.

Touché.

Having read all of this, I am wondering if the end came for Nippy Bus as it sometimes does, with a phone conversation between MD and bank manager, during which the latter refuses to extend the overdraft of the former, leaving no money pay for fuel for 17 buses to start the week once the MD gets back from his own half-term holiday. It has happened elsewhere that the unfortunate person took action to relieve himself of his sorrows, and decided to use social media after opening the second bottle.

Never wise. You have such a lot of work to do the following morning, taking down posts before anyone reads them. Or so a friend told me.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 02, 2017, 08:40:13 am
How the hell you link that with neoliberalism, I do not know.

If you didn't find reading The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/aug/18/neoliberalism-the-idea-that-changed-the-world) infra dig, you might begin to see. Just the first paragraph would do; you could always have a bath afterwards, or cleanse yourself by reading one of Sarah Vine's lovely Mail articles (https://www.facebook.com/stopfundinghate/photos/a.320031038334233.1073741828.310007856003218/544062539264414/?type=3&theater).


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Four Track, Now! on November 02, 2017, 08:43:59 am
If you didn't find reading The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/aug/18/neoliberalism-the-idea-that-changed-the-world) infra dig, you might begin to see. Just the first paragraph would do; you could always have a bath afterwards, or cleanse yourself by reading one of Sarah Vine's lovely Mail articles (https://www.facebook.com/stopfundinghate/photos/a.320031038334233.1073741828.310007856003218/544062539264414/?type=3&theater).

Other newspapers are available, some with tougher crosswords. Personally, I find Tim Vine (https://inews.co.uk/essentials/culture/television/tim-vine-best-jokes-and-one-liners/) to be funnier.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: chrisr_75 on November 02, 2017, 08:55:01 am
How the hell you link that with neoliberalism, I do not know.

If you didn't find reading The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/aug/18/neoliberalism-the-idea-that-changed-the-world) infra dig, you might begin to see. Just the first paragraph would do; you could always have a bath afterwards, or cleanse yourself by reading one of Sarah Vine's lovely Mail articles (https://www.facebook.com/stopfundinghate/photos/a.320031038334233.1073741828.310007856003218/544062539264414/?type=3&theater).

Why why why when I make a simple statement that I feel I do not receive value for money is that made out to be linked to some political ideology?

I don't think car tyres are particularly good value for money either. Does that also translate to a political ideology?

And why, if I do not care for The Guardian, do you imply that I have some strange desire to read the Daily Mail?


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Red Squirrel on November 02, 2017, 09:15:47 am
Why why why..?

The Duck test (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_test).



Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: bobm on November 02, 2017, 11:49:48 am
I am all for robust debate but can we make it a little less personal please?  ;)


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: richwarwicker on November 02, 2017, 02:15:30 pm
According to th Sun his own daughter fell foul of this entire dismissal. Also suggested the company isn’t insolvent.

Whilst I understand some of the anger at the owner, could there be another side to it, mental health issues on the owners side for example?


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: broadgage on January 24, 2018, 07:28:00 pm
There was a report about nippy bus and the demise thereof on tonight's BBC TV news, west country edition.

The traffic commissioners have barred the owner from operating buses for 10 years. The TV news attempted to contact him for comment but were not able to do so. Unconfirmed reports suggested that he is in Thailand.

The report of the traffic commissioner was very critical of the management of nippy bus.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-42805996 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-42805996) Also on BBC news website.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Bus Queen on February 11, 2018, 11:26:29 am
The owner of Nippy buses must of been forced into a desperate situation to have reacted this way.  Could a simple chat to  his bank manger or even the council have kept him in business we will never know.


Title: Re: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?
Post by: Four Track, Now! on February 11, 2018, 02:07:15 pm
The owner of Nippy buses must of been forced into a desperate situation to have reacted this way.  Could a simple chat to  his bank manger or even the council have kept him in business we will never know.

It is equally possible that the simple chat with the bank manager was the catalyst for closure. Again, we may never know.