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Author Topic: Nippy Bus (Somerset) folds?  (Read 4482 times)
froome
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« Reply #15 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.
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chrisr_75
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« Reply #16 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.
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Western Pathfinder
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« Reply #17 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.
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grahame
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« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2017, 07:08:14 pm »

Some answers from ITV West Country News

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.
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ellendune
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« Reply #19 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. 
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2017, 08:53:11 pm »

... and that, I suspect, was the trigger for the closure.  Lips sealed

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.

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bignosemac
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« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2017, 09:51:25 pm »

... and that, I suspect, was the trigger for the closure.  Lips sealed

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.
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chrisr_75
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« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2017, 10:12:11 pm »

... and that, I suspect, was the trigger for the closure.  Lips sealed

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.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #23 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

 
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ChrisB
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« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2017, 08:22:39 am »

"any" being the operative word here. I doubt it.
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richwarwicker
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« Reply #25 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.
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chrisr_75
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« Reply #26 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!
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stuving
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« Reply #27 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.
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martyjon
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« Reply #28 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. 
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Tim
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« Reply #29 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.  
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