Staff and passengers left in lurch as Premiere Travel folds
A TOTAL of 200 jobs are under threat after one of Notts' major bus companies ceased to operate, following financial trouble.
Premiere Travel Ltd stopped running all its 19 bus routes in Notts, Leicestershire and Derbyshire at 5pm yesterday.
Trent Barton and Nottingham City Transport are taking over some routes and will accept Premiere tickets.
Premiere also runs school buses in the boroughs of Gedling and Rushcliffe.
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Notts County Council says it has made arrangements to secure replacement school buses to operate from Monday.
Accountancy and business advice firm RSM Tenon, which had been appointed to help Premiere find a buyer, said yesterday no buyer could be found.
Paul Finnity, partner at RSM Tenon, said: "Several parties, including RSM Tenon, were working together to find a suitable buyer for Premiere.
"However, we have been unable to secure a buyer and are now carrying out an orderly wind-down of the business.
"We are hoping that Premiere employees will be taken on by the companies which take over the routes which Premiere has been running."
Ashley Jones, 21, of Oakington Close, Bestwood, who works as yard operator for Premier, started looking for new jobs as soon as he heard wages would not be paid yesterday.
"I don't know when and how I will get the money they owe me," he said. "The uncertainty is horrible.
"I have my car insurance to pay and have to fill up my car's fuel tank, which normally costs £70."
Mr Jones, who lives with his wife and three-year-old daughter, also said he was disappointed at the way the company had dealt with the crisis.
"I've not had any communication from directors or managers," he said. "No one from Premiere has contacted me and I would not have found out, if it hadn't been for that colleague, who contacted me late on Thursday night."
Adam Pike, 18, of East Bridgford, also works as yard operator for Premiere.
He said: "I really don't know what to do. I have 97 pence left in my bank account and not enough food to last me all week.
Mr Pike's parents, Alison, 43, and Darren Pike, 40, also work for Premiere, as drivers.
He said: "My parents are struggling too, so I can't borrow money from them. It's my dad's birthday today, but they won't be able to do anything for it, because there is no money."
Sharon Wood, of Shardlow, was waiting at a bus stop in Friar Lane at around 5.30pm yesterday for the Red 5, when she was told by the Post that her bus company would not be running her route.
The Marks and Spencer employee said: "I'd better catch another bus.
"To be honest I'm not surprised, I had known there was a bus war going on and fares were getting lower and lower.
"Premiere were cheap, but I guess it wasn't sustainable."
Premiere had previously denied rumours it was facing financial difficulties.
But the Post revealed yesterday that the business was on the verge of administration after it filed a notice of intention to appoint an administrator on Monday.
The company was in negotiations throughout the day yesterday and it was announced at 5pm that a sale had been unsuccessful and that it would be winding down.
Jeff Counsell, managing director of Trent Barton and Kinchbus, said: "We will be taking steps to ensure that bus users who hold Premiere travel tickets will be able to use them free of charge on our services, and we will exchange their period tickets for a Trent Barton or Kinchbus equivalent.
"We have extra staff and buses in place to help from today, including a replacement Kinchbus 9 service between Loughborough and Nottingham."