Ace Travel goes into liquidation

News stories are free to read. Click here for full access to all the features, articles and archive from only £8.99.

Winding-up order issued despite the operator reportedly having a payment scheme in place

Ace Travel (North West) went into liquidation at the weekend. Founded 10 years ago it had an O-licence for 17, employed around 60 staff and ran more than 30 routes, most of them contracted from MerseyTravel, but including the Liverpool City Sightseeing tour.

According to the Liverpool Echo, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) issued a winding-up order against the company despite an offer to pay. “I can’t believe they have done this,” Ace Director Alan Denson told the paper. “We did fall behind with payments, fair enough, but we had a payment scheme in place and we would have paid it by the end of the year.

“I don’t care about myself, but it is the staff I am worried about. To have a settlement in place and the Revenue to knock it back is just sickening. I have tried everything and even phoned friends all over the country.”

A HMRC spokeswoman told the paper: “We do not comment on individual companies or people.”

Seven commercial routes serving Liverpool city centre, Liverpool One, Liverpool Football Club (match days only), Belle Vale, Halewood, Bootle and Southport ceased from February 28.

Merseytravel managed to secure replacements for 26 routes and groups of services mostly from March 2 although Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire managed to provide Night Tunnel routes 500/501 and 156/157 (Garswood – Rainford) from February 28, the latter on a reduced frequency. The 264 (Halewood – Huyton) and 181 (Bootle – Speke) were covered from March 1 when a reduced frequency was also introduced on 81 (Bootle – Speke). It also ran routes 119 (Pier Head – Kirkby) and 214/216 (Walton Park Circulars). Services 201, 667, 800, 831, 839, 881 and 892 were covered from March 2.

Other operators stepping in were Southport-based Cumfybus on the 160-165 (Formby Circulars) from February 28, and 103 (Thornton- Aigburth), 701 (Crossens- Christ the King) and 746 (Southport – Christ the King) from March 2. Avon Buses, Prenton took on the 111 ((Alder Hey – Whiston Hospital) from March 2 as did Maghull Coaches, Bootle for the 827 (Kirkby – Old Swan) and 691 (Kirkdale Station – Savio College).

Liverpool-based Huyton Travel assumed responsibility for the 211 (Speke Circular) from February 28 and 693 (Knowsley Vill – Knowsley Park Centre of Learning) from March 2. Halton Transport took on the 264 (Halewood – Huyton) from March 1 and the 289 (Rainhill Station Circular) and 290 (Kirkby Civic Centre – Rainhill) from March 2.

A replacement operator for service 265 (Tarbock Green – Halewood) was being sought as CBW closed for press.