John Smith ceases operating

Long-established family operator, John Smith & Sons ceased trading on 17 January 2019. The directors have instructed Mike Jenkins and David Broadbent of Begbies Traynor to assist with the winding up of the company.

Founded in 1935 and based in Dalton near Thirsk, the company provided local and school bus services and executive coach hire around North Yorkshire. It had a 20-strong fleet of coaches and buses.

According to the administrators, the decision to cease trading was due to the fiercely competitive market, together with growing regulatory pressures. This led to the business becoming financially unviable. All 25 staff have been made redundant and a creditors meeting is scheduled for 13 February to formally begin the liquidation process.

Director, John Smith, said: “The decision to shut down John Smith & Sons has been very hard to make, the business is all we have known all our lives, as boys and men. I would like to thank all of the team, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of drivers and maintenance staff.

“The day we had to tell everyone was soul destroying and the hardest thing any of us have had to do. The reception we received from the team was amazing and touched us all to the core, showing how highly they thought of us. I would like to wish them all the best in the future.”

North Yorkshire County Council has been making arrangements to ensure home to school transport services are unaffected. A number of operators have been called in to carry out some of John Smith and Sons work, including: Morse Coaches, PNP Coaches, Atkinson Coaches, H Atkinson & Sons, Transdev Harrogate, Winn Bros, Hodgsons Coaches, Woodman Inn Taxis and KA Taxis Thirsk.

The 150 Thirsk – Ripon local bus service is affected. North Yorkshire County Council is currently investigating whether any level of service can be operated on it from Thursday 24 January 2019. John Smith’s 170 Northallerton-Thirsk-Ripon route was run on a commercial basis and has ceased running.

North Yorkshire County Council assistant director Ian Fielding said: “Temporary replacement services have been found for home-to-school transport of eligible pupils until 22 February, which is half-term. We have also begun a procurement process to secure longer-term alternatives which will operate after the February half-term holiday.

“The commercial local bus service 150 previously operated by John Smith and Son Ltd on Thursdays and Saturdays between Thirsk and Ripon did not operate on 19 January. The council is continuing to review the options for this service and we remain hopeful that some level of service can be reinstated soon.”

John Smith and Son’s roots go back to 1935, when John Smith and Percy Adams purchased a wagonette. This was used as a wagon during the day and converted for use as a bus during the evening. A year later, John Smith bought out Percy Adams.

In the early 1960s John Smith’s two sons, John Granville Smith and Alan Neville Smith, joined the business making it John Smith & Sons. In 1978 John Smith passed away, with control of the business passing to his two sons and his wife, Alice Mary Smith. Alice passed away in 2006, with control passing solely to the two sons.

In 2005, John Smith & Sons Limited was incorporated for the coach hire side of the business to run under. The company was set-up with Alan Neville Smith and John Granville Smith as Directors. The sons of the two brothers were also appointed as Directors. According to its website, the latest two Directors involved in the operation were John Smith and Ivan Smith.

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