Brijan Tours ceases operation

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Xelabus takes over the operator’s remaining bus routes, along with nine of its employees

Brijan Tours of Southampton ceased trading on August 14, 2015.

A message on the operator’s website stated that bus services 7, 8, 8B, 15 and 17 would continue to be operated by Xelabus, which has reportedly taken on nine former Brijan Tours employees, while the fate of school services 61, 607 and S1 were still being discussed with Hampshire County Council as CBW went to press.

The company has run coach and bus services for 25 years.

The Southern Dail Echo has reported that all of the firm’s directors had resigned and its accounts were four months overdue.

The hand-over was originally due to take place on September 7, with Brijan Tours announcing that it wished to stop operating the routes to focus on its coach services. It added that several drivers would transfer to Xelabus while remaining employees would be retained to operate the coaches.

Xelabus Director Philip Blair announced that Brijan had already surrendered the bus routes.

He added: “We are reassuring the public that even though the company has ceased trading we are honouring the services. Passengers will not see any difference in their service.”

Brijan was launched in 1990 by Hampshire coach driver Brian Botley and his wife Janet.

Initially he worked from the couple’s house in Swanmore, taking bookings by phone and delivering tickets personally to customers’ homes.

Over the years the fleet grew to 25 vehicles as the business went from strength to strength.

In 2009 Mr Botley was awarded the Freedom of the City of London for services to transport. At the time he employed 40 staff.

Stewart Dunn, Chief Executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s always sad to see a family-run business that has been around for 25 years or more suddenly disappear.”

Meanwhile, members of the Bus and Coach Association have criticised local authorities for refusing to award long-term contracts that provided operators with financial security.

Spokesman Martin Allen said: “I don’t think the industry has been in good health for at least five years. Quite a few firms have gone out of business.”