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All change at under fire bus route company

Classic Bus North West, which ran the number 80 service from Blackpool to Preston, has gone into administration. Ex-boss Philip Higgs (pictured) said its assets have been transferred to his other company Oakwood travel.

Classic Bus North West, which ran the number 80 service from Blackpool to Preston, has gone into administration. Ex-boss Philip Higgs (pictured) said its assets have been transferred to his other company Oakwood travel.

The company that terminated a vital bus service without warning amid rumours of financial difficulty has gone into administration.

Blackpool-based Classic Bus North West sparked outrage when it pulled out of its contract to run the number 80 bus, linking the resort and Preston, after just 11 days.

The news comes as a new company prepares to take over the route, which includes links to Inskip and Great Eccleston, on Monday.

Boss Philip Higgs today told The Gazette that 16 jobs had been saved after a deal was struck with Oakwood Travel, of which he is a director.

He said: “Oakwood Travel Services Ltd has acquired the goodwill and assets of Classic Bus North West in a pre-pack administration deal to protect jobs and bus services.

“The deal has meant 16 jobs have been protected and the only bus service casualty was route 80 following the surrender of the company’s operating licence.

“Eight driving jobs were lost as a result and six jobs from the loss-making bus refurbishment side of the business.

“For our regular customers on service 22 the transition has been quite seamless.”

Classic Bus, which was registered to the same Brinwell Road address as Oakwood, went into administration on December 31 but the notice only went public this week.

Kevin Murphy and Andrew Poxon, of Leonard Curtis, in Manchester, have been appointed joint administrators.

Classic Bus took over the route on a commercial basis on December 9. It terminated the contract without warning on December 20.

However, Poulton company Archway Travel is set to take over the running of the route from Monday.

Chairman of Inskip-with-Sowerby Parish Council Phil James said: “I am quite sure the majority of the village will be absolutely delighted.”

County councillor for Fylde West Paul Hayhurst said: “We have all fought for this but the next thing is to ensure people use this bus more than before now that they have had the shock of having it taken away.”

Tim Gornall, Lancashire County Council’s bus and transport manager, said: “The service was stopped at short notice and caused inconvenience to passengers over Christmas and the New Year.

“We are pleased that Archway Travel has come forward and decided to provide a service on this route.”

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