Fishwick ceases operations

One of the country’s longest established bus and coach companies, John Fishwick and Sons Limited of Leyland in Lancashire closed down at the end of service on 24th October. Established in 1907, the company was highly regarded by its customers and the industry in general, its green painted buses with gold fleetnames being a constant in the Preston and Leyland areas through over a century of changes in the industry. Cash flow difficulties are understood to have caused the shock closure which resulted in the termination of the company’s network of bus services in the Preston, Leyland and Chorley areas as well as its holiday tour programme.

Lindsey Cooper and Jeremy Woodside of RSM Restructuring Advisory have been appointed as administrators to the company. Lindsey Cooper said, ‘There have been significant changes within the bus operator sector over recent years which have made it difficult for small companies to operate profitably. This has resulted in the company facing significant cash flow issues and has left the directors with little alternative but to appoint administrators. Despite significant efforts we have been unable to find a buyer for the business and the business will cease trading. It is hoped that many of the employees will find alternative employment with other bus operators in the area. Discussions have been held with the local authority to ensure that disruptions to public services are minimised.’

A notice on the company’s website confirmed the closure, thanking customers for their support and confirming that any holiday payments were protected, ‘With effect from midnight Saturday 24th October 2015, John Fishwick & Sons will cease to operate. We would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our passengers for their custom and support over the years, it is much appreciated. Anyone who has paid deposits or payments for holidays will be contacted shortly. Please be assured your payment is protected by means of an Insurance Bond.’

At short notice, Stagecoach obtained special dispensation from the Traffic Commissioners to introduce a replacement facility for Fishwick’s core service 111 between Preston and Leyland. From Sunday 25th October, the new Stagecoach route will operate every 12 minutes during the day on weekdays and every 30 minutes at other times, accepting Fishwick’s tickets and passes in the short term. Stagecoach has also stated an intention to discuss with Lancashire County Council the covering of parts of Fishwick’s other routes.

With its proximity to the Leyland factory, Fishwick’s was often a test bed for demonstration vehicles, many later finding their way into the fleet. In recent years, the fleet has been standardised on the VDL SB200 chassis with Wrightbus and Plaxton bodywork together with a small number of Van Hool coaches and secondhand double-deckers.

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