April 2021

Tougher regulation call

first_imgClaims refutedThe firm’s collapse has provoked a bitter war of words, as Mr Henderson and the new owners blame each other.The Herald also revealed that the men who led the Henderson Travel buyout have criminal records.Kinglong Marketing Director, Paul Bicknell, was sentenced in 2008 to three years in prison for nine charges of theft of 220,000 from previous employer, Rock Group plc, to fund his gambling addiction and “extravagant lifestyle.” The losses caused a cash-flow crisis that was partly to blame for the Warwick-based computer firm going bust.Kinglong Sales Director Ray McNally, 46, was sentenced in 2005 to seven years in prison for his part in organising a West Midlands cannabis ring.In a statement to routeone Mr McNally says he has “an appeal going through at the moment to clear his name.”He adds: “Regardless of an ongoing appeal – everyone makes mistakes, unfortunately mine was a life-changing mistake, one that I deeply regret. I have put my family through a lot of pain and it is unfortunate to have the past brought up again causing further pain.“I will keep perspective though – as thankfully some people believe in second chances – I was given one and feel I have made the best of that opportunity. Kinglong was established before either Paul or I got involved and the brand continues to grow at the fastest rate of any marque in the market place, representing exceptional value for money.“Both Paul and I retain the confidence of the shareholders having proved our trustworthiness and integrity over these last seven to eight years.”Mr Bicknell says: “I’m only human and mistakes can be and were made. I paid for them dearly, learned from them and came through it a better person.”Both men emphatically refute claims that their involvement caused Henderson Travel’s collapse, or that they transfered any money from the business. Linked firmsDuring 2014, a total of 39 King Long coaches were registered, but a number which have been imported from the summer onwards are still at docks, mainly in Bristol, awaiting Customs clearance.IFI, through Kinglong Direct, continues to support all its operations, and those of Mr Ready, thanks to inter-company loans. Some of the businesses have been beset by financial difficulties, which resulted in the 50-vehicle Wetherby-based Eddie Brown Tours Ltd going into receivership (routeone, News, 31 December 2014) after the HMRC petitioned a winding-up order for 300,000.All the staff were paid before the business closed and most were found alternative employment, some at a new company, Eddie Brown Travel Ltd, with its operations being carried out by other linked companies.During 2014 Eddie Brown, Bakers Coaches and other vehicles from linked companies, were used on a contract for Jaguar Land Rover, providing staff transport between its sites and parking areas in Coventry and Warwickshire.An operating centre was set up at Kinglong Direct’s Coventry yard. The contract was terminated in the summer and is now held by a local operator.In total, IFI and Mr Ready’s operational companies hold O-Licences authorising 283 vehicles, down from 401 vehicles at its height last year.Despite this, together the companies operate more vehicles than Shearings, the UK’s biggest coach owner-operator.Mr Ready’s companies have been restructured, following his sale of Bakerbus routes (routeone, News, 31 December) and are now owned by Travel Centre (Midlands) Ltd of which Mr Ready is the owner and sole director. The company changed its name from Bakerbus Ltd on 24 December 2014.It owns Henderson Travel, NMC Tours of Morpeth, Rosa Holdings Ltd, trading as Tates Travel of Barnsley, Globe Coaches and Globe Holidays of Barnsley, Barnard Coaches of Gainsborough and Silcox Coaches of Pembroke Dock. Mr Ready is also a director of South Yorkshire Rider Ltd of Barnsley.IFI owns Bakers Coaches, Jeffs Travel of Brackley, Brijan Tours near Southampton and After Sales Garage Services Ltd trading as Bakers Coaches.While the group had a financial interest in the 40-vehicle Morecambe-based Battersby Silver Grey, the shares were not sold and remained with the Harrison family (routeone, News, 21 January). Buyer ‘surprise’Coventry-based Kinglong Direct – the trading name of Homologation and Type-Approval Specialists KLD Ltd – is owned by IFI. The offshore investment fund has bought a number of coach and bus companies in recent years, and then supplied King Long coaches to them. The owners of IFI are not known.Mr Henderson said he was initially approached by an accountancy firm with links to Kinglong Direct staff. He had decided to sell the business and retire after his brother and business partner quit due to ill health.After negotiations with representatives from Kinglong Direct, he was “surprised” when the buyer in April 2014 was revealed to be Bakerbus Ltd. Its director, Mark Ready, is also director at Bakers Bus & Coach Ltd, the linked coach firm at the same Stoke-on-Trent depot as Bakerbus Ltd, but ultimately owned by IFI. He is not to be confused with Marc Reddy, MD of First Hampshire, Dorset & Berkshire.In October Mr Henderson was told by Kinglong that he was being placed on “gardening leave” until his contract expired in March 2015, and was asked to make John O’Meara – a Kinglong salesman – a signatory to the bank account.Mr Henderson says he felt uneasy about giving Kinglong access to large amounts of monthly taxpayer subsidies of around 270,000 from Transport Scotland and SPT. John Henderson, a former owner of Lanarkshire-based Henderson Travel Ltd, has called for tougher regulation over who can buy into the bus industry.Henderson Travel stopped trading after running out of cash, months after being taken over by businessmen linked to mystery Barbados-based Island Fortitude Incorporated (IFI).Mr Henderson, 59, who founded Henderson Travel with his brother 30 years ago, has spoken out after his once successful company unravelled within six months of selling to Staffordshire-based Bakerbus Ltd, in a deal brokered by Coventry coach dealership Kinglong Direct.In an interview with Scottish broadsheet newspaper The Herald on Saturday (24 January), Mr Henderson says he may have lost up to 160,000 in the episode.Around 100 staff lost their jobs when Henderson Travel, authorised for 40 vehicles, stopped trading on 30 October, although most of the staff and all 20 of the firm’s contracted routes, worth around 9m, subsequently transferred to competitor McGill’s Buses (routeone, News, 5 November). Ongoing inquiryInsolvency practitioners, MLM Solutions, are currently leading a probe into the company’s liquidation.A Public Inquiry before Scotland’s Traffic Commissioner Joan Aitkin was adjourned last year, with the next hearing expected in around a month’s time.In a joint statement, Mr Bicknell and Mr McNally say: “At no time did Kinglong, or ourselves, have any control or access to monies at Henderson’s.“Our only involvement was to support Mark Ready of Bakerbus in his acquisition for the business. Mr Ready has an exclusive arrangement with Kinglong whereby he buys at a discounted rate; he is however his own man.“We understand from Mr Ready that he was also unable to gain control of the bank account; the full authority remained with John and Linda Henderson until the business collapsed.“Both of us (and Bakerbus) are innocent of any wrongdoing in regards to Henderson.“We have no intention of ducking the storm and have already gone on record with the liquidator.” They add that Mr Henderson’s allegations are “unfair and unjust.”Explaining Kinglong Direct’s involvement, they say: “It was initially proposed that Henderson Travel would be looking to renew vehicles to work on its SPT contract. Kinglong Direct quoted Henderson’s for a number of King Long XMQ 6900J buses.“Mr Henderson ordered an initial vehicle to trial on the routes. Within a month of the order being placed, Mr Henderson cancelled the bus and all monies were refunded to the finance house that had paid for the vehicle.“We maintained a professional working relationship with Henderson Travel and continued to support Mr Ready in his venture. Right up to the last days of trading Kinglong Direct supported the business with the provision of fuel cards to keep the buses on the road after Henderson Travel lost the use of its fuel account.”last_img read more

Birmingham Nat Ex driver goes the extra mile to help homeless people

first_imgA Birmingham bus driver has been nominated for an international award for going the extra mile to help homeless people.Glenn Coltman sees an “increasing number of homeless people” when driving on bus routes 2 and 3 into the city centre. He reports where they are via Streetlink, a website that enables the public to alert relevant local authorities of the location of homeless people, so they can be offered the help they need.He is now up for a global National Express award after winning the national Community Values award for Personal Impact at a West Midlands bus conference in February.Glenn persuades other drivers to use Streetlink to tackle the city’s homeless problemGlenn also encourages other drivers to use StreetLink at the end of their shift, to report people they see in and around their bus routes.Says Debbie Wosley, Operations Manager at National Express Birmingham: “Glenn’s commitment to go above and beyond in his driver role is very commendable. We’re proud to have someone so passionate representing the West Midlands at our company’s global awards.”The global National Express Group finals take place in London later this month.last_img read more

RAF100 plans

first_imgRAF100 plans[49]RAF Cranwell College held a Tourism Conference, attended by 120 businesses, about its plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the RAF in 2018.It was organised by Visit Lincoln, Lincoln BIG and Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire. Lydia Rusling from Visit Lincoln says: “There was a real sense of excitement.”last_img

What’s driving the change in urban transport?

first_imgFrom the mobility market to the new generation, there are many factors driving the change in urban transport. Johan Herrlin, CEO at Ito World takes a look at five of themIt’s hard to believe that data-powered urban transport only began in 2005, with the introduction of Google Maps fundamentally altering how we thought about navigating our cities. Then along came the iPhone in 2007, which completely changed how we interact with technology.Johan Herrlin, CEO at Ito World – delivers of real-time transit data feedsBy 2011, automotive manufacturers were becoming aware of this sea-change in their industry. BMW iVentures launched alongside Uber – and the rest, as they say, is history.What’s driving change?The mobility market: Mobility as a service (MaaS) grew in popularity in 2014, when automotive manufacturers launched spin-offs dealing with the threat of urban mobility. Today, the MaaS market is an active space with a lot of investment. Within this space, the key industry drivers are advances in technology and business models.The new generation: Millennials are playing their part, as population demographics help MaaS come to fruition with a growing number of people living and working in cities and within the shared economy. When compared to baby boomers, millennials don’t have the same association with private car ownership and prestige.The data deluge: In terms of technological change, open data, open systems and open APIs have all made MaaS possible. Without open systems, the essential bits and pieces aren’t available for developers and entrepreneurs to make use of. The breakneck speed at which autonomous vehicles are coming online, alongside the wider move towards electrification, will also greatly affect the development of MaaS.The reboot of the bus: Across London there are now a number of bus services – none of them owned by public authorities – operating as on-demand, demand-responsive or fully scheduled bus services. The question is whether these additional private services are going to add to or reduce the number of vehicles on the road, and whether these operators are going to take the profitable routes in the city and leave the unprofitable routes to public agencies.The rise of micro-mobility: It is clear that the micro-mobility market is exploding. This is because of one simple fact: Cars are bad for users, cities and the planet. Public transport, while it’s fast, low cost and good for the planet, is only useful if you live near pre-existing routes. Micro-mobility offerings bridge these two modes of transport by delivering the same benefits as private cars while being more beneficial to the user and city.What’s next?We have to be clear on what a good and bad outcome is for urban mobility in the years to come. We must protect against divisions between profitable and unprofitable routes, which will result in public transport being left to the least well-off demographics and areas of cities.‘We have to be clear on what a good and bad outcome is for urban mobility’Most importantly, regulatory frameworks need to prevent this from happening while simultaneously stimulating the sharing of information and data.There has to be a win-win for public and private organisations and bodies, rather than harsh regulations that stifle innovation.last_img read more

Two EVM minicoaches for Elegant Irish Tours

first_imgElegant Irish Tours has taken delivery of a pair of EVM Avantgarde minisElegant Irish Tours of Dublin, part of the Paddywagon group, has taken delivery of two Mercedes-Benz Sprinters with Avantgarde conversions, supplied by EVM (0845 520 5160).Each has 19 Executive Class seats finished in real leather and with three-point belts and folding armrests on the aisle side.The gangway of each is covered in carpet, while the remainder of the flooring is finished in wood-effect Tarabus non-slip material.At the rear, the OEM doors open to reveal a full-depth drop boot with a fold-out flap and a stainless steel protector. The rear row of seats is raised and there is a full-height partition.Panoramic double-glazed saloon windows are fitted, finished in privacy grey, along with an exterior chrome pack.last_img read more

Glass-topped 17-seat mini set for UK arrival soon

first_imgThe 17-seat conversion is available on Daily, Sprinter or Transit basesCaleche Europe has introduced a glass-roofed minicoach that seats up to 17 passengers. It can be built on Ford Transit, Iveco Daily or Mercedes-Benz Sprinter base vehicles and it will be followed by a nine-passenger sister based on an M1 Sprinter in 2019, the company says.The first 17-seaters, built on Sprinter underframes, have already been sold in the UK directly by Caleche, which is currently exploring options for a dealer here.Unlike an earlier convertible Sprinter brought to the UK by Caleche and a partner, the SkyLite GT has a fixed roof that is made up of sun-protected double-glazing. It also has a powerful climate control system. That, says Caleche, makes it ideal for sightseeing use.To standard specification, the SkyLite GT comes with leather seats, tables, Alcantara interior LED lighting, a sound system and USB charging points.Production is undertaken by Polish builder Bus Factory, which exhibited a SkyLite GT at Euro Bus Expo 2018. The first for the UK market will be delivered by June, says Caleche. “Whether it is for business or leisure, the SkyLite GT will make a real difference in passenger transport, regardless of the season,” the company adds.last_img read more

‘Healthy interest’ in Sea View Coaches assets, business

first_imgAdministrators have reported “a healthy level of interest” in both the business and the assets of Poole operator Sea View Coaches, which ceased trading earlier in April.The Dorset operator entered administration following “steadily declining turnover in an increasingly competitive market.”Rising running costs also contributed to the pressure on the operation.Simon Haskew and Neil Vinnicombe, partners at Begbies Traynor, are joint administrators. The Dorset premises are set to be sold at auction in mid-June and some of its vehicles have already been advertised by dealers.The operator was established in 1973 and ran an 18-strong fleet. All 17 members of staff have been made redundant.Says Mr Vinnicombe: “Looking to the future, the Sea View Coaches brand is well known locally and would prove a valuable asset for someone to take forward.”last_img read more

Mistrial declared for final suspect in a fatal shooting

first_img Facebook Pinterest Pinterest Google+ Twitter WhatsApp IndianaLocalSouth Bend Market By Tommie Lee – June 14, 2019 0 243 Mistrial declared for final suspect in a fatal shooting Previous articleLaPorte police stepping up traffic efforts in coming weeksNext articleFriday morning semi crashes tangle traffic around Indiana Tommie Lee Facebook Google+ WhatsApp Twitter (Source: https://goo.gl/apvBBL/ License: https://goo.gl/VAhsB) A mistrial has been declared for the sixth suspect in a fatal shooting in St. Joseph County.The judge declared the mistrial on June 12th for the final defendant in the case of a drug-related shootout in August 2017.Damon Bethel and Anton James were killed at a house on Fredrickson Street in the shooting. Benito Pedraza was charged with three counts of murder and one count of attempted robbery.The court was informed that one of the jurors wrote a note stating that he had looked into the case online the night before the trial was expected to begin.The trial has been rescheduled for August 19.last_img read more

Strong to severe storms possible late Thursday

first_imgIndianaLocalMichiganNewsWeather Previous articleIndiana just days away from legalized sports bettingNext articleEPA proposes $585,000 settlement for Benton Harbor cleanup site Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney. Twitter Facebook Twitter Pinterest (Photo supplied/ABC 57) (Tyler Sebree/ABC 57 News) A strong cold front will swing through the Midwest and Great Lakes late Thursday into Thursday night. Ahead of it will exist the potential for numerous thunderstorms, some of which could very become strong to severe.Zoomed in look at Thursday’s severe weather threat zoneVigorous thunderstorm development is expected around 4 p.m. across parts of Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan. Those storms will likely form in a rough line just ahead of the cold front.As the evening progresses, the line of storms will push southeastward into Illinois, southern Michigan and eventually northern Indiana. A few scattered storms may form ahead of the main line, but that remains to be seen.Potential radar at 6 p.m. EDT ThursdayThe main severe weather “threat zone” stretches from northern Missouri and southeastern Iowa into northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. That’s where a level 2-of-5 “slight risk” has been highlighted by the Storm Prediction Center.Those areas have the highest threat of severe thunderstorms capable of damaging winds, large hail, heavy rain, lightning, and perhaps a tornado or two.Potential radar at 10 p.m. EDT ThursdayThat’s because the storms will be in those locations while the sun is still up. In other words, the best ingredients will be in place in those regions. In Michiana, the storms will likely not arrive until after 8-9 p.m. EDT. That means we will be losing daylight, warmth and energy as the storms roll in.As a result, northern Indiana and much of Michigan are only under a level 1-of-5 “marginal risk” of severe weather. Regardless of the threat level being lower, the risk for a few strong to severe thunderstorms is certainly there Thursday evening.Threats for northern Indiana, northeast Illinois and most of MichiganThings could change a bit, but confidence in at least some storms moving through parts of Michiana after 8 p.m. is pretty good. Not everyone will see storms, but there will be some.Areas with the best chance of storms — including severe storms — are west of U.S. 31 and north of U.S. 30. That would include the following locations:Indiana: Michigan City, La Porte, New Carlisle, South Bend, Mishawaka, Elkhart, Goshen, KnoxMichigan: Benton Harbor, St. Joseph, New Buffalo, Niles, Dowagiac, Cassopolis, Edwardsburg, Marcellus, Three Rivers, Sturgis Strong to severe storms possible late Thursday Google+ Facebook WhatsApp By Jon Zimney – August 29, 2019 0 360 WhatsApp Pinterest Google+last_img read more

A special message from Federated Media & 103.9 The Bear

first_img By 95.3 MNC – September 11, 2019 1 497 WhatsApp A special message from Federated Media & 103.9 The Bear Facebook WhatsApp IndianaLocalMichiganNewsSouth Bend Market (Federated Media) It is with incredible sadness and heavy hearts that we announce that our friend and colleague, Ron Stryker, has passed away.Ron has been a part of 103.9 The Bear and Federated Media family as long as any of us can remember.His personality and passion are irreplaceable.Out of respect for his family, friends and coworkers who are grieving his loss we are asking for privacy at this time.– The Bear Family & Federated Media Pinterest Google+ Twitter Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google+ Previous articleUPDATE: Silver Alert cancelled for Mishawaka girlNext articleMayors Buttigieg and Keller raise the stakes for Fighting Irish vs Lobos game 95.3 MNCNews/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel is your breaking news and weather station for northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan.last_img read more