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Velvet buses cease trading

July 16, 2014
By

Black_Velvet_302

Velvet buses – trading as Black Velvet Travel Ltd – have ceased to trade as of 5pm this evening after running into “financial difficulty”.

Eastleigh News understands that staff were told of the closure of the company just minutes before it was due to close.

A notice on the company website simply states the company has stopped trading and refers enquiries to insolvency specialists Chantrey Vellacott DFK .

The Chandler’s Ford based company founded by director Phil Stockley,  first started operating in 2008 and employed 22 people all of whom are now redundant.

Liquidators are expected to be appointed in the coming weeks.

In 2013 it operated had a fleet of 29 of  distinctive purple liveried buses.

Matthew Fox of  Chantry Vellacott DFK said in a statement:

“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.

“We’re working with the management team to conduct a full review of its assets, to secure, as far as possible, any statutory benefits due to staff and to help assist the transfer of services to other providers.”

As of October 2013, Velvet operated ten day and two night routes under contract to Eastleigh Borough Council and in April it announced it would be running its Marwell Zoo service again this season.

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But low passenger numbers and other problems meant that the company has been shedding routes since January.

The 300, N6 and N8 were axed in April and competitors Xelabus have recently taken over some of Velvet’s Barton Peveril College routes and the Eastleigh to Hedge End part of the A route, renaming it the X4.

In May the company transferred the 67 service between Winchester and Petersfield to stagecoach and Xelabus

Evening and Sunday journeys on the X7 and E8 were due to be transferred to Xelabus this month.

Wheeler’s Travel have said they will be operating Velvet’s A route from Hedge End to Southampton from tomorrow morning.

while Bluestar will be running the S1, S2 and B4.

It is not clear if the new service providers will be able to honour monthly bus passes issued by Velvet.

Phil Stockley, director of Black Velvet Travel, said:

“After six years of hard work it is very sad that the company has come to an end in this way.

“The efforts and commitment of the team over the last six years have been exemplary and we hope the process will be as smooth as possible for all concerned.”

Pic ©Arriva436

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8 Responses to Velvet buses cease trading

  1. TGR Worzel on July 16, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    That is a massive surprise.
    I’m very sorry to see Velvet fail in this way…

    • Eastleigh Xpress on July 16, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      Although they must have known there were problems I expect this was still a shock for staff and on the day it was announced that the number of jobseekers in Eastleigh now almost at its lowest level ever.

  2. Matthew Myatt on July 16, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    This is very sad, I know this company really tried to provide an excellent service to its customers and many of the drivers were so well liked that passangers knew the drivers on a first name basis.

    This company really had struggled to get into this very cut throat industry and has suffered more than most with equipment failure and even garage fires.

    Very sad for passengers, staff and family’s, on the eve of the school holidays.

  3. Bev King on July 17, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Sad day indeed. A lovely Company with lovely Drivers = it always happens that way.
    Thanks for all those happy journeys.
    Bev King

  4. George on July 17, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I believe Wheelers on the A route, will honour passes until the end of the month, while Bluestar and the S1/S2/B4 will honour them until they expire.

    • Eastleigh Xpress on July 17, 2014 at 11:32 am

      Thanks for the info George 🙂

  5. Mervyn Brown on July 17, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Very sad to lose Velvet and their lovely drivers. Hope they all find new work soon

    Mervyn Brown

  6. Clare Blackburn on July 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    I have to say that my son and his friends have been using Velvet for the past two years travelling to Barton and the sevice was very poor indeed. Buses breaking down all the time. Buses not turning up on a regular basis. Drivers being rude and unhelpful and issuing incorrect weekly tickets and being grossly over priced. So I for one am very happy that they have closed. As for the staff; had they been more pleasant and helpful then I would feel more sorry for them but alas I dont

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