Stevenage's Chambers Coaches owner hits out at school over newsletter and says satisfaction is 'on the up'
Long-running Stevenage coach firm Chambers Coaches says it is considering taking legal action against a school after rumours spread that it could close down.
The firm came under fire just before the summer holidays after a series of schools and members of the public reported coaches not showing up for appointments, drivers turning up late and groups being left stranded.
The biggest case was when pupils from John Henry Newman School were left stranded at bus stops – leading to the school terminating its long-standing contract with the firm and many parents trying to recoup lost fairs paid in advance.
Since then rumours have circulated in the town that the firm is set to close, but the company has hit back at the doubters saying it has turned a corner and blamed the school for starting the gossip.
Chambers chairman Rob Kreuger told the Comet the rumours spread after a comment the school made in its newsletter saying the company was about to be ‘struck off’ by Companies House where it is listed as Chambers Coaches Stevenage Limited.
Striking off happens when no records are submitted under a company name beyond a certain time limit.
Chambers was due to be struck off on October 28.
If this had happened, all its property would be forfeit to the crown, but Chambers CEO Robert Kreuger filed the necessary paperwork before the deadline so the struck off action was discontinued.
Mr Kreuger told the Comet: “Chambers Coaches is aware that John Henry Newman School sent out on the school’s newsletter that Chambers Coaches was due to close at the end of October, as per Companies House.
“This is incorrect, this matter is now with the companies solicitors awaiting further action and advice, and if needs be legal action will be taken as some customers were concerned and cancelled, so we will be looking to recoup our losses.
“With regards to progress we have downsized our fleet, to ensure reliability.
“We have a school contract with St Christopher’s in Letchworth in place.
“Customers’ satisfaction and confidence is on the up – we receive regular thank you emails and letters thanking us and the drivers for the service and saying they are impressed with the facilities.
“Local schools and surrounding villages are still booking with us, swimming contracts have been renewed well into 2018.
“We have attracted new customers who have also booked into 2018.”
JHN head Clive Mathew told the Comet the only reason the school printed the information was to give parents a warning to get their claims in for lost money before the firm was due to be struck off.
He said the school was pleased the company is continuing because it means any parents still owed money might be able to reclaim it, and added the school is very pleased with the new coach provider it has hired for its school runs.
Chambers was taken over by Mr Kreuger earlier this year after former owners Debra Tidey and Martin Chambers retired.