Speedwellbus fined over suspension of S50

MoneyRemember Speedwellbus withdrawing service S50 between Ashton and Mossley in April this year? So did the North West Deputy Traffic Commissioner, and she wasn’t impressed. The current issue of Route One trade magazine (414) reports that the company has been given a penalty of £5,600 for not operating a registered service after having been refused a “short notice cancellation”. She was not satisfied that Speedwell had shown a reasonable excuse for the cancellation; that to find “reasonable excuse” would be unfair to bus operators who operated within the rules; and that she did not want to risk setting a precedent which would allow any operator who had lost money to cancel services at short notice without appropriate arrangements being made.

Thanks to Rob for the pointer.

[Image credit: “Money Money Money” by Images of Money on Flickr – TaxBrackets.org]


About James McCollom

Web geek and public transport user
This entry was posted in Buses and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Speedwellbus fined over suspension of S50

  1. Paul Sidorczuk says:

    Speedwellbus have only themselves to blame in this matter.

  2. mh says:

    Something is going on at speedwell. Services in glossop, which in my opinion have always been pretty poor, have become even worse recently. Many of their buses seem to have disappeared. I know their drivers still are not being paid on time. Bad times for them it seems….

  3. Shaun says:

    With these performance tables coming in, you do wonder how many tendered services Speedwellbus will end up losing from TfGM

  4. Paul says:

    From N&Ps dated 6th Jan

    Section 5.2 – Decisions Taken at Public Inquiries
    Public Inquiry (42159) held at Hillcrest House, Hillcrest House, 386 Harehills Lane, Leeds, LS9 6NF on 27 September 2011 at 11:00(Previous Publication:(2582)

    PC1061974 SN
    Director(s): JACK HAMPSON.

    PSV – S17 – Licence revoked with effect from 23:59 on 31 March 2012

  5. Shaun says:

    Yes, they are all tendered services, plus the two 344s – the Hyde circular and the Oldham-Hyde service.

    So, does this mean the end for Speedwellbus or is it a case of a re-generation or some other alteration in order to keep going

  6. mh says:

    It seems that Speedwell have been nose-diving for some time now, particularly since the failure of the S48/49/50. Its plain to anyone to see that the company has been run into the ground. Although if Speedwell are to disappear from our roads it will be a shame to lose another independent operator, though I’m sure there wont be the same feeling among Speedwell’s customers who are frequently let down by their poor performance and complete lack of customer service.

  7. Tony says:

    Whilst Speedwell may appear to be dead, it looks like it will reappear as Speedwell :

    PC1108213 SN

    North Western Traffic Area, N&P, 06 Jan 2012: New Application
    RAGLAN STREET HYDE SK14 2DX, GB Operating Centre: RAGLAN STREET HYDE SK14 2DX Authorisation:20 Vehicle(s). Transport Manager(s): PAUL DEREK BANHAM, JACK HAMPSON

    • Paul Sidorczuk says:

      I see what you say, but will the involvement of certain well-known names and faces militate against them with their involvement in Speedlwellbus, once it is time for the tendered services to come up for contract renewal in the months to come and this new company puts in an application for them.

      They may well set up a new company but the way that certain individuals have ran past transport organizations must surely be considered when the awarding of future contracts are made. How many times do we see, in general company trading, companies close and be immediately re-opened by the same directors and management.

      • Shaun says:

        So, Speedwellbus will become Speedwell Travel then by the looks of it.

        The problem will be that Speedwell’s performance record may hinder their chances to gain tendered work from TfGM, particularly with the performance tables coming in. This will mean having to introduce commercial services, which may see them possibly competing with another service from a bigger operator with cheaper fares, which would probably mean a return to the Speedwellvalue services such as the S50.

  8. anthonymck says:

    Does any one know – In terms of any existing tender – do these automatically transfer over to the new company or do they need to rebid for them ?

  9. Bazza says:

    The answer I think is no, the company will be, in effect, none existent, any services that the council deem necessary to run will be put out to emergency tender to other bus operators

  10. alexander says:

    So what you’re saying with respect is that One can run a company into the ground, fail to provide a quality service, lose their Operators Licenses due to bad management, can reopen under another name and start again? Is this actually legal? I am shocked, how can they possibly allow that.

  11. Bazza says:

    No not really, don’t forget its the traffic commissioner, who I think is Mrs Bell, grants the “O” licences, and with Speedwells track recorord, do you honestly think she’s going to give them back to them, although stranger things have happened.

  12. alexander says:

    From what I can see she already has, 20 of them…. he has registered himself and David Whyatt as Speedwell Travel… Go figure! Surely if they couldn’t run Speedwell Bus they can’t run Speedwell Travel any better!

  13. Bazza says:

    Not to them she has’nt, an application for an “O” licence can take anything up to six months,and he has only just applied for them, he’s asking for 20 NOT got 20 …yet……..if it.!

  14. alexander says:

    ahhhhhh… thanks for the heads up. Hope she see’s through them.

  15. mh says:

    Sorry, but haven’t we seen this before with Speedwell? I seem to remember them being called Speedwell Private Hire, until they hit a spot of bother regarding vehicle maintenance a few years back. Presumably they were subject to a public enquiry and, as a result, changed their name to Speedwellbus.

    We’ve seen it before with other operators too (*cough* UK North!). Surely it cant be as simple as changing the company name slightly to be granted with a new “O” licence after a revocation?

  16. alexander says:

    Speedwell Private Hire was his Taxi company… based in Glossop.

  17. mh says:

    No, that was Speedwell Taxi’s, a brand that appeared in 2009/10, briefly, then disappeared. Speedwell Private Hire was the original name for Speedwellbus, I have an old timetable somewhere with the name on it. I believe the name changed around the time they moved from Glossop to Hyde.

    In fact, one of Ashton bus station’s service/stand posters, as recently as 2010, had the operator of the 239 listed as Speedwell Private Hire

  18. Bazza says:

    You are right Alex,Speedwell Private Hire was his taxi’s, which never took off. The company was called Speedwell before and after the move to Hyde, Jack then changed it to Speedwellbus around 2008, so I don’t know where mh has got that info from.

  19. alexander says:

    Anyway, regardless of what their name is surely Miss Bell should see what their game is. Bowers I’m sure would make a much better job of the Glossop run buses, smart clean shaven drivers….. hey they even wear ties………!!!! Well I would like to say good luck to Speedwell but after the service we’ve had over the past few years personally I think this could be best thing to happen to Glossop…

  20. Bazza says:

    Bowers would do well, with their track record. But I’m suprised that no bus company has put on a bus for Gamesly, them poor sods don’t have a reliable bus service at all. If a bus company put a bus from, say, Henry St. to Gamesly, every hour, commercially run, they would make a killing.

    • Paul Sidorczuk says:

      Bowers have always had a clean and well run bus on all their services that I have used in the past. How long will it be now before their involvement in the new “High Peak” company (that will run out of Dove Holes depot) takes place ?

  21. Bazza says:

    The merger takes place on the 31st March, although initially, you won’t notice anything different.

  22. mh says:

    just to illustrate my point, Speedwell WERE called Speedwell Private Hire (as recently as 2006): http://www.speedwellbus.com/timetables/41.pdf (note the “buses run by…” section on the first page!) Also an entire list on N&P’s from VOSA: http://www.tan.gov.uk/tanen/Vosa_AnonymousPublicationSearchResults_new.asp

    There has been talk on other forums/blogs about High Peak, and whether they would be in a position to take over some of Speedwell’s operations in glossop, should they disappear. Its been some time since Glossop has had a reliable bus company running its bulk of services (not the 236/237/390). Interesting times ahead….

  23. tony Edwards says:

    Can the public object to the o-licence ?

  24. Alexander says:

    And Speedwell No more!!!!!!!

  25. There’s various rumours going round saying that speedwell have gone out of business – and have stopped running – anyone heard anything ?

  26. mh says:

    its not a rumour – its true! I don’t know all the in’s-and-out’s, but I have it on good authority that Speedwell have gone bust. I’ve been searching for more information, but to no avail. surely somebody must have some more info….

  27. James McCollom says:

    Sources indicate that Speedwell have given notice to quit their remaining TfGM and Derbyshire CC contracts either today or tomorrow – and that one of their services was operated by Stotts yesterday.

  28. Anthony Mckeown says:

    There drivers are advising they are ceasing operation from 6.00pm this evening.

    Although bizarely they’ve been running an additional 392 circular from Glossop to Gamesley as well as the normal routes.

  29. Anthony Mckeown says:

    The 394 will be run from tommorw by Bowers / Centrebus

  30. Alexander says:

    Great news for Gamesley. Nicer buses… shame about the poor drivers losing their jobs. Well he’ll be back am sure under a different name hopefully with Nice optares like he used to have before he got greedy. And maybe a Manager that knows about Buses rather than how to iron his trousers with a crease!! (sorry below the belt but very true)!!!

  31. Paul says:

    On the Speedwell facebook page there is a message saying they will cease trading after today; http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000629133926

  32. ChloeH says:

    They’ve “ceased trading” as of today

  33. 202 / 341 has been taken over by Stagecoach (202) and Stotts (341) – slightly different timetable

  34. Shaun says:

    On Speedwell’s Facebook Wall posts:
    Stotts also takes over the 343, 395 and 396. Bowers takes over the 394, which is confirmed by Centrebus on their Twitter feed.

  35. Alexander says:

    Great news all round, very sad for those who have lost their jobs, but now I am very sure things can only look up for Glossop. Good luck to all the companies taking on Spreadwells work….. Believe e they don’t have much to live up too!!!
    RIP Speedwell xxx

  36. felixfind says:

    As a Speedwell Customer myself i would say that not all passengers share the view that this is good news.
    Firstly Jack being local knows the area very well and lets not forget Stagecoach once upon a time operated to Gamesley and beyond and then pulled out, leaving many area’s of Glossop ‘high and dry’, so jack saw a gap and very effectively filled it in.
    He must have done something right as at one point he was picking up tenders left, right and centre.
    Living and working in Glossop i use both Speedwell and Stagecoach services and have to say that 9 times out of 10, Speedwell have always topped Stagecoach’s level of service, yes buses dont turn up, but then again not every Stagecoach 236/7 turns up either, their level of customer service also left alot to be desired, but at least when you boarded a Speedwell bus you always got a warm smile and that personal level of customer service, instead of the usual grunt or glance off the Stagecoach driver.

    As for the S50, i wouldn’t be too quick to deem it a failure, it was till the end a success, it always carried decent loads and i would say would still be running now if it hadn’t been for the concessionary changes last April, the S48/9 were somewhat ambitious given First’s frequency’s.

    Finally i think its wrong to try and make out that Speedwell are in any way another UK North style Operation, you only have to talk to the owner to realise he had passion for what he did, perhaps given todays sad news a little too much.

    Hopefully all his drivers, and support staff will find jobs quickly elsewhere.

    • Paul Sidorczuk says:

      That is only your own personal view of matters, admirable for your support of the company as it is…..there are others with far different views, just as heartfelt.

      I think that you will find it was much more than the Concessionary Fares issue that has to be looked at.

      • Felixfind says:

        I think you will find alot of people supported them, and still do, let’s not forget the company ran for 10 years, despite the dribble on here they only ever operated on one licence, fleetnames on vehicles changed, that’s all.

        You make out that Speedwell are the only company in Manchester to have had issues, there not, I can think of plenty that have, alas why is First pioneer on a separate licence to First Manchester???
        Paul why don’t you go and stand in Glossop today and see how many of their passengers prefer to see them back……. I think most would.
        Until you have run a bus company and know what your talking about don’t patronise me.

      • Paul Sidorczuk says:

        I am not patronising you, if you read what I said. All I was as pains to point out is that there are two sides to the same coin….you will find that there are people who are against Speedwellbus as there are, like you, who support them. I might not have run a bus company, but I have been in charge of a company with over 1,000 employees in one of their divisions in the 1970/1980 period in the South of England, which is far larger than Speedwellbus ever would have attained.

        Look at one of the final matters, where Speedwellbus still went ahead with a management decision that caused a fine of £5,600 to be imposed on the company for not operating a registered service after having been refused a “short notice cancellation”

        If you bring Glossop into the discussion, you would do no better than to question the decision of Derbyshire County Council at their Matlock offices not so very many weeks ago that had such a dramatic effect on bus service provision in the Glossop area.

  37. Felixfind says:

    I’m a retired bus driver and still do a bit for another local Indy firm, I can tell you they are all struggling at this time, I doubt very much Speedwell won’t be the last to go, certainly not this year.

    The fine was imposed due to them ending the S50 without notice, however up until last April the service was making good progress and carried good loads, however it carried large amounts of students to and from Ashton sixth form college, all of which paid the 50p flat fare, however with concessionary fares they ended up receiving no reinbursment so for every day the service continued to operate, it was carrying good loads but loosing large amounts of money, so what choice did he have.

    Speedwell wernt perfect, no but they were a decent local company with a big loyal following from passengers and drivers!
    The last 12/18 months haven’t been their best but they tried hard to pull things back.

    I think it’s very sad, about 40+ staff are today out of work, not just drivers but support staff etc, all loyal to the end.

  38. James McCollom says:

    Hi everyone, I haven’t found time to blog about Speedwell yet, but I will make sure I do so tonight. Whatever your views on the company, and they have certainly had their good times and their bad times, I’m sure everyone will join me in hoping that laid-off staff find new employment soon. I’m going to close comments on this article for now but thanks for all your contributions.

Comments are closed.