Jobs go as Velvet bus company ceases trading

Daily Echo: Bus firm collapses leaving passengers with unceratin commute Bus firm collapses leaving passengers with unceratin commute

PASSENGERS were this morning facing an uncertain commute after a troubled bus company collapsed.

Hampshire firm Velvet announced that it had ceased trading yesterday afternoon.

All 16 drivers and seven administration staff were told their jobs were gone as administrators moved in following months of financial woe for the Eastleigh-based firm.

Daily Echo: Black Velvet buses

The company - which traded as Black Velvet Travel - ran eight services across Southampton and Eastleigh.

Last night the firm's managing director Phil Stockley, below, issued a personal apology to passengers.

Daily Echo:

He stressed that financial pressures and increased competition meant the company was unable to survive.

Mr Stockley said: “We are very sorry that the company has come to an end in this way.

"The customers and staff have been brilliant and it's been a pleasure serving the people of Hampshire.

“But there are too many bus operators and not enough work to go round.

“Our staff have been fantastic to work with and we are very grateful for the service they've given over the last six years.

Daily Echo: Two buses compete for passengers

“We will give them all the help they can to find other jobs.”

Staff received the news at 2pm yesterday - three hours after an emergency meeting between bosses and accountants.

Some finished their rounds but in the confusion others abandoned their routes leaving bewildered passengers waiting at bus stops for more than an hour with other having to call cabs home.

The firm's headquarters in Eastleigh High Street was shut down while drivers were ordered to leave their vehicles in a yard in Millbrook.

Mr Stockley apologised to anyone affected by the cancelled services.

Daily Echo: A Velvet bus

Insolvency specialists Chantrey Vellacott DFK said liquidators will be appointed in the coming weeks.

Partner Matthew Fox said: “Despite the best efforts of the company's director Black Velvet Travel has struggled to fill the void of losing a number of major contracts due to increased competition.

“The director has been in talks to sell the company to new owners for some time but talks have repeatedly broken down.

“With no prospect of a sale and debts accumulating the possibility of continuing to trade without major investment is not possible.”

But passengers took to social media to vent their anger.

One said: “Might have been nice of velvet to say none of their busses would be running anymore before I waited at the bus stop for an hour.”

Panel: What now for Velvet passengers?

RIVAL bus companies have stepped in to fill the void left by Velvet's collapse.

Crucially children will be able to get to school after Xelabus agreed to provide services for Thornden School until the end of term.

The firm last night drafted in extra staff to run the X4 service to Hedge End and will take charge of the X7 to Chandlers Ford from last night. Bluestar will now operate Velvet's Southampton services the S1 (Lordshill to Shirley and city centre), S2 (city centre to Freemantle and Shirley), B4 (Bursledon, Sholing, Thornhill and Harfefield to Bitterne) and 502 (Springhill School to city centre and Northam).

The Route A from Southampton to Hedge End has now been taken over by Wheelers but the future of the M service from Eastleigh railway station to Marwell Zoo has yet to be decided.

Comments (21)

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8:06am Thu 17 Jul 14

sah367 says...

Wheelers have already announced they will provide a service on the A route (Hedge End to Bitterne and Southampton)
Wheelers have already announced they will provide a service on the A route (Hedge End to Bitterne and Southampton) sah367
  • Score: 7

8:09am Thu 17 Jul 14

sah367 says...

ps - "Some finished their rounds but in the confusion others abandoned their routes"

We (the drivers) did what we were instructed to do.
ps - "Some finished their rounds but in the confusion others abandoned their routes" We (the drivers) did what we were instructed to do. sah367
  • Score: 32

8:16am Thu 17 Jul 14

Datarater says...

One administrator for every two drivers is bound to give the company problems.
One administrator for every two drivers is bound to give the company problems. Datarater
  • Score: 7

8:26am Thu 17 Jul 14

Positively4thStreet says...

Privatisation never works.
Privatisation never works. Positively4thStreet
  • Score: 14

8:28am Thu 17 Jul 14

I just want to say.... says...

How do I purchase one of their vehicles as they are bound to be sold of cheaply?
How do I purchase one of their vehicles as they are bound to be sold of cheaply? I just want to say....
  • Score: -2

8:29am Thu 17 Jul 14

ClunkClick says...

sah367 wrote:
ps - "Some finished their rounds but in the confusion others abandoned their routes"

We (the drivers) did what we were instructed to do.
Hi Steve, has Bluestar taken you on to drive the S1? I do hope so. Pease let us know the situation with you; wish you all the best!
[quote][p][bold]sah367[/bold] wrote: ps - "Some finished their rounds but in the confusion others abandoned their routes" We (the drivers) did what we were instructed to do.[/p][/quote]Hi Steve, has Bluestar taken you on to drive the S1? I do hope so. Pease let us know the situation with you; wish you all the best! ClunkClick
  • Score: 19

8:35am Thu 17 Jul 14

Linesman says...

When it was the Corporation Bus Service, it was a Service, and it was Reliable.

Privatisation has seen that the shareholders are the first priority.
When it was the Corporation Bus Service, it was a Service, and it was Reliable. Privatisation has seen that the shareholders are the first priority. Linesman
  • Score: 35

8:38am Thu 17 Jul 14

Positively4thStreet says...

Linesman wrote:
When it was the Corporation Bus Service, it was a Service, and it was Reliable.

Privatisation has seen that the shareholders are the first priority.
Same with the railway,it took some serious crashes before they realised that profit doesn't repair track if some money isn't spent on it.
[quote][p][bold]Linesman[/bold] wrote: When it was the Corporation Bus Service, it was a Service, and it was Reliable. Privatisation has seen that the shareholders are the first priority.[/p][/quote]Same with the railway,it took some serious crashes before they realised that profit doesn't repair track if some money isn't spent on it. Positively4thStreet
  • Score: 29

9:16am Thu 17 Jul 14

Positively4thStreet says...

Louis Person wrote:
my step-mom just bought white Subaru Legacy only from working part-time off a macbook air. Check This Out

------>>> x.co/54kGk
I'd have gone for a Ford or Vauxhall personally..cheaper spares.
[quote][p][bold]Louis Person[/bold] wrote: my step-mom just bought white Subaru Legacy only from working part-time off a macbook air. Check This Out ------>>> x.co/54kGk[/p][/quote]I'd have gone for a Ford or Vauxhall personally..cheaper spares. Positively4thStreet
  • Score: 2

11:00am Thu 17 Jul 14

mobydick21 says...

Shame for the company and its staff as jobs will be lost its a very sad day today.
Shame for the company and its staff as jobs will be lost its a very sad day today. mobydick21
  • Score: 5

11:24am Thu 17 Jul 14

Paramjit Bahia says...

When Tories started de-regulating / privatisation public transport they sold the idea on the basis that so called competition will make the services more efficient cheap and reliable.

Most of the bus travel industry is now owned by only few firms, which if not full is virtual monopoly. They can dictate and almost achieve whatever their greed dictates, and can make it very difficult for small operators.

Other problem is the few small operators, who got into bus business without any experience and hardly any ability, with having done the sums on the back of their fag papers and thinking they ate better than likes of Dyson and Richard Branson etc.

As somebody else has pointed out this operator had virtually one admin staff for two drivers ratio. What kind of comedian could have possibly invented that kind of management?

Feel sorry for the drivers and employees who have lost their employment.

Pity at the national level the main political party now in opposition refused to reverse the policies responsible for this mess when they were in power for 13 years. In fact the right wing dominated Labour Council of Southampton had sold Council owned bus firms (yes it had more than one, even outside Southampton) which under Alan Whitehead had survived privatisation.
When Tories started de-regulating / privatisation public transport they sold the idea on the basis that so called competition will make the services more efficient cheap and reliable. Most of the bus travel industry is now owned by only few firms, which if not full is virtual monopoly. They can dictate and almost achieve whatever their greed dictates, and can make it very difficult for small operators. Other problem is the few small operators, who got into bus business without any experience and hardly any ability, with having done the sums on the back of their fag papers and thinking they ate better than likes of Dyson and Richard Branson etc. As somebody else has pointed out this operator had virtually one admin staff for two drivers ratio. What kind of comedian could have possibly invented that kind of management? Feel sorry for the drivers and employees who have lost their employment. Pity at the national level the main political party now in opposition refused to reverse the policies responsible for this mess when they were in power for 13 years. In fact the right wing dominated Labour Council of Southampton had sold Council owned bus firms (yes it had more than one, even outside Southampton) which under Alan Whitehead had survived privatisation. Paramjit Bahia
  • Score: 3

11:43am Thu 17 Jul 14

OSPREYSAINT says...

Wish someone would take over the current 5 route and provide a service which would be of use, First have fouled it up completely and as it is, it will never make any money and will be obliterated before long.
Wish someone would take over the current 5 route and provide a service which would be of use, First have fouled it up completely and as it is, it will never make any money and will be obliterated before long. OSPREYSAINT
  • Score: 6

12:39pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Tanya-Jayne says...

I thought Philip Blair of Xelabus had bought Velvet as per Daily Echo news story here - http://www.dailyecho
.co.uk/news/11064748
.Black_Velvet_Travel
_under_new_managemen
t_after_merger_deal/


???
I thought Philip Blair of Xelabus had bought Velvet as per Daily Echo news story here - http://www.dailyecho .co.uk/news/11064748 .Black_Velvet_Travel _under_new_managemen t_after_merger_deal/ ??? Tanya-Jayne
  • Score: -3

1:05pm Thu 17 Jul 14

speedicut says...

Tanya-Jayne wrote:
I thought Philip Blair of Xelabus had bought Velvet as per Daily Echo news story here - http://www.dailyecho

.co.uk/news/11064748

.Black_Velvet_Travel

_under_new_managemen

t_after_merger_deal/



???
No, Xelabus withdrew from the deal
[quote][p][bold]Tanya-Jayne[/bold] wrote: I thought Philip Blair of Xelabus had bought Velvet as per Daily Echo news story here - http://www.dailyecho .co.uk/news/11064748 .Black_Velvet_Travel _under_new_managemen t_after_merger_deal/ ???[/p][/quote]No, Xelabus withdrew from the deal speedicut
  • Score: 3

1:38pm Thu 17 Jul 14

wilson castaway says...

The drivers were always polite and the busses were clean but the cost of travel was just a little too expensive on these buses.
The drivers were always polite and the busses were clean but the cost of travel was just a little too expensive on these buses. wilson castaway
  • Score: 0

1:43pm Thu 17 Jul 14

IanRRR says...

Paramjit Bahia wrote:
When Tories started de-regulating / privatisation public transport they sold the idea on the basis that so called competition will make the services more efficient cheap and reliable.

Most of the bus travel industry is now owned by only few firms, which if not full is virtual monopoly. They can dictate and almost achieve whatever their greed dictates, and can make it very difficult for small operators.

Other problem is the few small operators, who got into bus business without any experience and hardly any ability, with having done the sums on the back of their fag papers and thinking they ate better than likes of Dyson and Richard Branson etc.

As somebody else has pointed out this operator had virtually one admin staff for two drivers ratio. What kind of comedian could have possibly invented that kind of management?

Feel sorry for the drivers and employees who have lost their employment.

Pity at the national level the main political party now in opposition refused to reverse the policies responsible for this mess when they were in power for 13 years. In fact the right wing dominated Labour Council of Southampton had sold Council owned bus firms (yes it had more than one, even outside Southampton) which under Alan Whitehead had survived privatisation.
You clearly know nothing about public transport Paramjit. What an insult to the hard work and due diligence of the small operators, who are actually victims of too much competition in this area. As for your comment about greed, do you have any idea about the tiny profit bus operators make? In some cases they make less than nothing. Ask First bus how much they make in Southampton... You may be very surprised. Hence the desperate measures they keep trying. Suggest you comment on something you are qualified in.
[quote][p][bold]Paramjit Bahia[/bold] wrote: When Tories started de-regulating / privatisation public transport they sold the idea on the basis that so called competition will make the services more efficient cheap and reliable. Most of the bus travel industry is now owned by only few firms, which if not full is virtual monopoly. They can dictate and almost achieve whatever their greed dictates, and can make it very difficult for small operators. Other problem is the few small operators, who got into bus business without any experience and hardly any ability, with having done the sums on the back of their fag papers and thinking they ate better than likes of Dyson and Richard Branson etc. As somebody else has pointed out this operator had virtually one admin staff for two drivers ratio. What kind of comedian could have possibly invented that kind of management? Feel sorry for the drivers and employees who have lost their employment. Pity at the national level the main political party now in opposition refused to reverse the policies responsible for this mess when they were in power for 13 years. In fact the right wing dominated Labour Council of Southampton had sold Council owned bus firms (yes it had more than one, even outside Southampton) which under Alan Whitehead had survived privatisation.[/p][/quote]You clearly know nothing about public transport Paramjit. What an insult to the hard work and due diligence of the small operators, who are actually victims of too much competition in this area. As for your comment about greed, do you have any idea about the tiny profit bus operators make? In some cases they make less than nothing. Ask First bus how much they make in Southampton... You may be very surprised. Hence the desperate measures they keep trying. Suggest you comment on something you are qualified in. IanRRR
  • Score: 8

2:07pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Kirsty666 says...

I hope all who lost their jobs get employed by the other bus companies
I hope all who lost their jobs get employed by the other bus companies Kirsty666
  • Score: 7

2:29pm Thu 17 Jul 14

hammym says...

sah367 wrote:
Wheelers have already announced they will provide a service on the A route (Hedge End to Bitterne and Southampton)
Bring back Hants &Dorset, one company, one ticket, no waiting for the right bus because hour ticket wasn't rifht. It worked for a long time till our trusty politicians improved things!
[quote][p][bold]sah367[/bold] wrote: Wheelers have already announced they will provide a service on the A route (Hedge End to Bitterne and Southampton)[/p][/quote]Bring back Hants &Dorset, one company, one ticket, no waiting for the right bus because hour ticket wasn't rifht. It worked for a long time till our trusty politicians improved things! hammym
  • Score: 13

1:12am Fri 18 Jul 14

Paramjit Bahia says...

IanRRR wrote:
Paramjit Bahia wrote:
When Tories started de-regulating / privatisation public transport they sold the idea on the basis that so called competition will make the services more efficient cheap and reliable.

Most of the bus travel industry is now owned by only few firms, which if not full is virtual monopoly. They can dictate and almost achieve whatever their greed dictates, and can make it very difficult for small operators.

Other problem is the few small operators, who got into bus business without any experience and hardly any ability, with having done the sums on the back of their fag papers and thinking they ate better than likes of Dyson and Richard Branson etc.

As somebody else has pointed out this operator had virtually one admin staff for two drivers ratio. What kind of comedian could have possibly invented that kind of management?

Feel sorry for the drivers and employees who have lost their employment.

Pity at the national level the main political party now in opposition refused to reverse the policies responsible for this mess when they were in power for 13 years. In fact the right wing dominated Labour Council of Southampton had sold Council owned bus firms (yes it had more than one, even outside Southampton) which under Alan Whitehead had survived privatisation.
You clearly know nothing about public transport Paramjit. What an insult to the hard work and due diligence of the small operators, who are actually victims of too much competition in this area. As for your comment about greed, do you have any idea about the tiny profit bus operators make? In some cases they make less than nothing. Ask First bus how much they make in Southampton... You may be very surprised. Hence the desperate measures they keep trying. Suggest you comment on something you are qualified in.
Just because you may not have liked what I wrote cannot make your comment that I do not know anything about how the public transport works to be a fact.

I have reasonable knowledge of this industry, gained through practical experience by starting to work at the very bottom as bus conductor and ending up as director and Chairman of the board of director.

Under me Southampton may not have been super profit making bus business as aim was to provide affordable frequent and reliable bus service, and promote reasonably good employment for whole of our staff.

Considering many believe that The City Bus service was much better than what First provides should prove that I along with my team must have done something right. I Think we had reasonably successful business that went on to acquire other operations, like in Portsmouth and a coach company, both of which had problems and we turned them into successful businesses as well.
[quote][p][bold]IanRRR[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Paramjit Bahia[/bold] wrote: When Tories started de-regulating / privatisation public transport they sold the idea on the basis that so called competition will make the services more efficient cheap and reliable. Most of the bus travel industry is now owned by only few firms, which if not full is virtual monopoly. They can dictate and almost achieve whatever their greed dictates, and can make it very difficult for small operators. Other problem is the few small operators, who got into bus business without any experience and hardly any ability, with having done the sums on the back of their fag papers and thinking they ate better than likes of Dyson and Richard Branson etc. As somebody else has pointed out this operator had virtually one admin staff for two drivers ratio. What kind of comedian could have possibly invented that kind of management? Feel sorry for the drivers and employees who have lost their employment. Pity at the national level the main political party now in opposition refused to reverse the policies responsible for this mess when they were in power for 13 years. In fact the right wing dominated Labour Council of Southampton had sold Council owned bus firms (yes it had more than one, even outside Southampton) which under Alan Whitehead had survived privatisation.[/p][/quote]You clearly know nothing about public transport Paramjit. What an insult to the hard work and due diligence of the small operators, who are actually victims of too much competition in this area. As for your comment about greed, do you have any idea about the tiny profit bus operators make? In some cases they make less than nothing. Ask First bus how much they make in Southampton... You may be very surprised. Hence the desperate measures they keep trying. Suggest you comment on something you are qualified in.[/p][/quote]Just because you may not have liked what I wrote cannot make your comment that I do not know anything about how the public transport works to be a fact. I have reasonable knowledge of this industry, gained through practical experience by starting to work at the very bottom as bus conductor and ending up as director and Chairman of the board of director. Under me Southampton may not have been super profit making bus business as aim was to provide affordable frequent and reliable bus service, and promote reasonably good employment for whole of our staff. Considering many believe that The City Bus service was much better than what First provides should prove that I along with my team must have done something right. I Think we had reasonably successful business that went on to acquire other operations, like in Portsmouth and a coach company, both of which had problems and we turned them into successful businesses as well. Paramjit Bahia
  • Score: 0

7:45am Fri 18 Jul 14

bucktoom says...

From a personal point of view, I am very sad to hear this news. The drivers were the most polite and helpful people in public transport I'd ever come across.
From a personal point of view, I am very sad to hear this news. The drivers were the most polite and helpful people in public transport I'd ever come across. bucktoom
  • Score: 4

7:49am Fri 18 Jul 14

oooarrr says...

hammym wrote:
sah367 wrote:
Wheelers have already announced they will provide a service on the A route (Hedge End to Bitterne and Southampton)
Bring back Hants &Dorset, one company, one ticket, no waiting for the right bus because hour ticket wasn't rifht. It worked for a long time till our trusty politicians improved things!
Ah! the good old days of H&D
[quote][p][bold]hammym[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sah367[/bold] wrote: Wheelers have already announced they will provide a service on the A route (Hedge End to Bitterne and Southampton)[/p][/quote]Bring back Hants &Dorset, one company, one ticket, no waiting for the right bus because hour ticket wasn't rifht. It worked for a long time till our trusty politicians improved things![/p][/quote]Ah! the good old days of H&D oooarrr
  • Score: 1

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