Second county bus firm shuts its doors
A SECOND bus company serving Oxfordshire schools shut its doors yesterday.
Jeffs Coaches, which serves students in the Bicester and Banbury area, called in the administrators yesterday.
Oxfordshire County Council said routes will not be affected today and said it was “acting promptly” to resolve the situation. Next week is half term for most county schools.
The collapse of Brackley-based Jeffs Coaches comes just weeks after Witney firm RH Transport, which ran a range of services including school buses, went bust.
County Hall said 178 pupils were transported by Jeffs Coaches on six routes to Cropredy Primary School, St John’s Primary School in Banbury, Blessed George Napier School in Banbury and Magdalen College School in Brackley, Northamptonshire.
Jeffs Coaches is owned by Birmingham-based Bowen Travel Group.
Bicester resident Eileen Penhallow, 52, whose daughter used Jeffs Coaches to get to Blessed George Napier School, said: “If there was no bus service it would have a huge impact. Children would not be able to get to school.
“We would either have to drop her off very early or she would have to catch the train from Bicester to Banbury with all the commuters at quite a high cost and then walk up the hill.”
Cropredy Primary School governor Mark Simmons said: “The governors are very concerned about anything like this and we will be discussing it and finding out what kind of impact it will have on the school.
“It is something we are taking very seriously.”
St John’s Primary School headteacher Kevin O’Connor said: “It is a tragedy because Jeffs Coaches has served us for many years.”
RH Transport went into administration at the beginning of the month, resulting in the loss of 70 jobs and costing County Hall more than £400,000 replacing services.
Stagecoach and other firms stepped in to run 13 public routes and 30 school services.
Referring to Jeffs, Rodney Rose, county council cabinet member for transport, said: “We’re acting promptly to bring in short-term replacements.”
Administrators for Bowen Travel Group said the company had experienced a “serious cash flow crisis”.
Matt Cowlishaw, joint administrator and partner in Deloitte’s restructuring services team, said: “After exploring all possible avenues for the future of the group, it became clear that due to lack of funds it would be unable to continue to trade.”
Jeffs Coaches ran services to the following schools:
Two to Cropredy Primary School from Wardington, Claydon and Mollington.
One to St Johns Primary School in Banbury from Wardington.
Two from Bicester, Stoke Lyne and Bucknell from Blessed George Napier School in Banbury.
One to Magdalen College School in Brackley for Oxfordshire based pupils in the Mixbury area.