Friday, 1 August 2014

Velvet buyer revealed

The Echo has confirmed that the buyer of Velvet is Adam Smith. Who, you may ask? The Echo doesn't say. Some might be left thinking that the 18th Century economist and philosopher has posthumously saved Velvet.

But no, the Adam Smith in question is indeed the man behind Buses Excetera of Surrey.


On this page of their website is some information about the man himself:


The yellow highlights are mine. One hopes that the standard of English used on the Buses Excetera website is not a sign of things to come at Velvet.

104 comments:

  1. Not the only errors on that page, but it seems that many people don't appear to care about that sort of thing any more.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well despite from the fact that details of the deal were let slip weeks ago - I am certain that come next year both companies will have gone under
    I work at a rival company in Guildford and have watched Buses Excetera go through what seams like endless problems with their O licence ,driver shortages ,bank balance and their overall reliability which is 4% below the industry average. I have been shocked and quite frankly amazed that despite all these problems they have managed to stay afloat ( so far ).
    We should organise a sweepstake - I take April next year

    Regards Chris

    ReplyDelete
  3. GOOD LUCK TO THEM LETS HOPE VELVET IS HERE TO STAY

    ReplyDelete
  4. Gone by Xmas

    ReplyDelete
  5. It seems strange that anyone would want to take over Velvet in the current local climate.
    Velvets flag route, the A Eastleigh to Hedge End, had an almost locked in student customer base which has now passed to Xela

    A (part 2) Hedge End to Southampton operates on territory once busy with many SBL routes but now a shadow of its former self. This is due to get more competition from Wheelers

    The remaining small parts are hardly a good nucleus for future expansion

    Velvet and Xela have both tried some innovative routes but unfortunately customers do not appear quickly just because of a new route and these have inevitably failed and been quickly withdrawn

    Although wishing success to all 3 local operators (4 if you include Brijan) I feel their days could be numbered as they all rely on subsidised and little used routes - once subsidies finish I fear for their future

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are only reporting this now! The man admitted he was the new owner 9 days ago!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I note that from an echo report on 2nd August 2014 from parties involved in the Velvet issue, a statement has now been made-PAC

      Delete
  7. Pity He did not make a statement on the Velvet Facebook or main site so everyone would be clear as too the case, so as all speculation would cease- I have never seen such a lack of communication between customer and what's going on or what the future may hold-If this had been the case the postings might be more interesting and of value too all who read this site,instead of everone guessing this and that, which is not helpfull in the long run-All that suffer are potential passengers who seem to be the last consideration-At least when it all started to fall apart Xelabus,Bluestar and Wheeler's jumped in to cover services and I'm beginning to think that's the way it should have stayed-Such a pity a company like Velvet as it was should be reduced to this-PAC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I assure you that pretty much everyone working within the industry such as myself knew for sure Excetera had brought Velvet within 24hrs of their buses being back on the road. Their was simply no guessing or speculation on the industry side while I do feel sorry for the passengers who have had little if any information.
      The reason none of us are doing anything is because we don't have to! The fact is that Adam took on to much too soon and at a time where his original company is going through some tough times.

      Delete
    2. That's a fair enough comment from you-However quite a lot of people who post on this site are not in the industry and by what you are stating it's not looking good for the future-PAC

      Delete
  8. Wow by the looks of it everyone is writing Velvet off already! I can't say I blame them!
    I feel most sorry for Phil who built Velvet up to a fantastic company who truly cared about their passengers and staff.
    I do however think Velvet was doomed the minute Phil took his enthusiasm and energy away from the business so he really has no one to blame but himself!
    One thing I do not understand is everyone's problem with Xelabus and Gareth Blair?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Don't feel sorry for Phil (velvet) as he decide to take his eye off the company & go up north - his choice. Feel sorry for staff like drivers/fitters etc maybe. As for Phil (Xela) & Gareth Blair there has been an anti-xela feeling since their public communications have let them down. No Twitter now, the website of Xela being out of date for extended periods, &/or missing timetables for services, poor service even though they are marketing experts & maybe their apparent arrogance on this site. The 'why we created Xela unofficial thread' caused no end of issues. The Xela running routes against other local companies last year, like their version of the Velvet M & their version of Brijan's 8 rattled some feathers. However, that said it was all perfectly above board & legal. But when regular friends (or favorite local companies) get a new boy on the block trying to make good against them no one likes the disturbed Status Quo. I don't think most people on here are anti-Xela, but are anti-bad practise & a 'new boy' gets criticism more than an old hand. Now that Xela are here to stay (well it looks that way) & that their routes are now more stable (X4 an example) perhaps things will settle down & they'll be accepted into the fold. However, Phil & Gareth should remember that we are paying customers so treat us nicely & not with arrogant or curt replies. But then again an offer to have a 1 to 1 with a bus co. chief is rare, so maybe it's their new way of doing things that's rattling a few cages?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree with you-Most of us are in no way anti Xelabus-It's the publicity that let's them down-The website has a different version of X7 too the leaflet of Eastleigh Town services available off the bus,On the website the X4 shows different too the Eastleigh Town service leaflet available off the bus, and to the timetable issued by HCC-The E8 or X8 only appears in the HCC timetable and nothing on their website-I am informed that the facebook page was removed sometime ago as they did not like the complaints-Others have facebook pages where they receive complaints, and stand up too the challenge of those who complain. No operator like complaints,but it's a fact of life which has to be faced-There is a difference between a genuine complaint and someone who want's too be downright rude who of course should be removed from any posting,which I note at certain times First on their facebook page have too do,and quite rightly so-I note that on main routes of Xelabus very clear stop flags and timetables-I note also on the website as they stated all the school/college services were posted by 1st August 2014 for the start of the September term-I'm sure if the few issues about publicity were sorted things would be totally different for Xelabus-PAC

      Delete
    2. Saw 2 of Xela's 'new' Scania low floor single deckers today in Gosport at the bus rally site, but before I could get a good look at them they were off. And it was only about midday. Shame, but perhaps they had to be somewhere else. Looked good from a distance.

      Delete
  10. Good news today on the Xelabus site-From 1st September 2014 they will be on Twitter,the evening journeys on X4 will be operating also Monday to Wednesday in addition to the present Thursday,Friday and Saturday(as from this week I presume)-The 67 service has from 31st August 2014 on Mondays to Saturdays gone to Stagecoach which is no surprise to me at all-However this will hopefully give Xelabus the opertunity to concentrate on their Eastleigh area network and wish them all good luck in doing so-PAC

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well done Xelabus you have certainly made the right decision with regards to twitter but their is still is no official Facebook page - How are customers suppose to stay informed?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Southern Daily Echo Readers Comments, Monday 4th August regarding Velvet:
    "I have worked in the bus industry in Surrey for over 40yrs, I have known of this persons activities for a long time. I do not work at his current bus company, but know many who do. The owner of that company recently seriously reduced Mr Smith's control in the bus division of the company.
    The parent company is Coaches Excetera based in South London. Earlier this year the Surrey depot of Busses Excetera was locked up by bailiffs one Friday night, apparently over unpaid debts. He has also been raided by VOSA this year. Some drivers this year were contacted by HMRC & asked where they were working, as no tax was being paid.
    They were told that they were working for Buses Excetera & tax was deducted from wages. It transpired that it was not reaching HMRC at the time. I do not know if that has been resolved. Mr Smith had a brush with the law some years ago, under his previous name Paul Jones, over the use of a PCV Licence belonging to another, to gain employment at Metrobus. This was just before photo licences became compulsory. He himself was under age at the time. He also has an appointment very soon with a Crown Court in South London over a matter not directly concerned with the bus company. He is trying to delay this appearance by sacking his legal team. This can all be verified through formal authorities."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well in what you state it would have been better too have let Velvet fade into the past with fond memories and let Xelabus,Bluestar and Wheeler;s fill in the void,which they did and Xelabus has done up too the point I post the most-In fact the company which has done the most in addressing the situation which they did not have too seems to recieve the most complaints,that being Xelabus-The only issue I have with Xelabus is their website in information provided which I have made clear in past postings-However I note on their website today they will be on Twitter as from 1st September 2014 a vast step forward and hope to see more improvements in the future-How on earth Velvet customers are supposed to plan their journeys in what's left with all the uncertanty that still exists fails me-PAC

      Delete
    2. Yes, true as far as what the emotions tell us, but for the legal entity that cannot be. One may question how Black Velvet Travel can fall in to what seems a doubtful buyer's ownership, but as long as the Insolvency Administrator gets the best result for the company's creditors duty has been done.

      Emotions have no place: administration is amoral

      Delete
  13. For those interested Stagecoach is now showing thier revised 67 timetable on their website,together with other changes in and around Winchester from 31st August 2014.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Today, Adam Smith/ Paul Jones (this is his birth name, he changed it because of a foot long police record for petty crimes and to get away from debitors), also known for a while as Ian Rogers and Ian Paul Jones , tomorrow he has a appointment with the traffic commissioner https://www.gov.uk/g
    overnment/uploads/sy
    stem/uploads/attachm
    ent_data/file/326952
    /np-2306-04-july-201
    4.pdf .
    Here are the charges :
    Public Inquiry (48913) to be held at Court Room(SEMTA), Ivy House, Ivy Terrace, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4QT, on 06 August 2014 commencing at 10:00(Previous Publication:(2306)
    )
    PK1129141 SI
    SURREY ETC LTD
    Director(s): NIGEL JOHN THOMAS, ADAM
    PAUL SMITH.
    163 ORCHARD COTTAGES, QUALITY STREET, MERSTHAM REDHILL RH1 3BD

    and

    Public Inquiry (48914) to be held at Court Room(SEMTA), Ivy House, Ivy Terrace, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4QT, on 06 August 2014 commencing at 10:00(Previous Publication:(2306)
    )
    PK0002520 SI
    MERITRULE LTD T/A OAK COACHES
    Director(s): IAN CHAMBERS.
    163 ORCHARD COTTAGES, QUALITY STREET, MERSTHAM REDHILL RH1 3BD
    PSV
    -
    S16
    -
    Consider attaching of varying conditions under Section 16 (The Public
    Passenger Vehicles Act 1981)
    PSV
    -
    S17
    -
    Consideration of disciplinary action under Section 17 (The Public
    Passenger Vehicles Act 1981)
    PSV
    -
    Sch.3
    -
    Consideration of Transport Managers Repute under Schedule 3 (The
    Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981)
    PSV
    -
    S28
    -
    Consideration of disciplinary action under Section 28 (The Transport Act
    1985 ,
    As you can see both companies have the same address but different directors ( I would not be surprised if it's another of his schemes to get away from the law ) .

    I've known this guy for a while , and I can tell you this about him : he lies as he breathes , he will tell you anything to get you to drive a broken down bus , he will push you to break the law ( if you don't soon you will need another job (( my case )) and if you do take a bus out and get pulled over he will make sure that you took that bus without his approval ( happened to one of the drivers working for him ) .
    Several drivers working for him for aver 8 - 10 months have found out that he hasn't payed their taxes , even if the taxes were deducted from their wages , they were working over time for him ( he was arranging private hire jobs with Betc 's school coaches in the evenings or weekends , off the books , keeping the money for himself ) and didn't got paid for it.

    The incident about their yard in Merstham being shut down happened , but not because of some debts , but because he tried to steal the whole of BETC ( he took advantage of the fact that the owner gave him a blank check over the whole company so he changed the VC5 of the buses on his new company SurreyETC , and he refused access to the owner in the yard . In the end the owner got some court order to recover his buses and that is when the police shut down the whole place.)
    In all this his right hand was NIGEL JOHN THOMAS , and as I understand he is to do the daily running of Velvet Buses.
    I would advice anyone working for Velvet Buses to take a lot of care with these guys, as they have caused a lot of grief for a lot of good drivers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For legal reasons, I should clarify that the above post is written by an anonymous poster and the opinions within cannot be verified by myself, so are not officially endorsed by this blog. In the interests of free speech I am happy to leave the comment on here with this reminder that it is an anonymous post and is the opinion of just one of this blog's readers.

      Delete
    2. Well put-I'm sure all who read this blog understand your position and endorse your statement-Thanks-PAC

      Delete
  15. Despite what I said (Anonymous5 August 2014 08:46) about the amoral nature of Administration, how Chantrey Vellacott could be involved in putting Black Velvet and that man together has to be the mystery of at least the decade.
    Have to wonder if Smith aka..... can even legally complete the deal (cash only please).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes-cash only please-PAC

      Delete
  16. Just found this blog and as a driver at Buses Excetera I can confirm that Adam Smith is the Devil! He should be in prison full stop! As a driver I have been asked to take buses which are clearly not in a roadworthy condition out in service - I won't give any examples despite being plenty of them as I fear for losing my job ( I am trying to get another driver position at Arriva ) He constantly lies to me and the other drivers whether it be overtime ,taxes ,legal driving hours ( anything he can get away with )
    I don't know much about Velvet but from what I have heard it was a good honest company......not anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and there I see another problem for folk who work for any employer with a doubtful reputation. Might mud stick to an applicant for employment at another employer by association?

      Delete
    2. Thanks to the driver of BETC for sharing that with us. By any chance, do you, or any other readers know the management/ownership structure of the Excetera Group? Does Adam Smith own the group, just BETC or only 'manages' it/them?

      A new company has been incorporated (25th July) called bvt ltd. with the sole director being Adam Paul Smith. Perhaps a company to replace the existing Black Velvet Travel Ltd? It's a shame for the people of Velvet, who at least under the previous management (Phil), were part of a company regarded as honest and customer-focussed. It will be a shame to see those qualities disappear, if it is in fact Adam/Nigel heading up the business.

      On another note, an ETC vehicle has appeared at Velvet In purple livery, registered S18 ETC.

      Thanks - Glenn.

      Delete
    3. Hi Glenn

      According to my source Smith owns 10% of BETC Ltd with Richard Hill owning the remaining 90%. Hill wholly owns Coaches Etcetera. Smith relinquished BETC's sole directorship he held since its inception, in March this year, and was replaced with… yes, Richard Hill! This seems corroborate with what Hove Expat said on the Echo site's comments section about Smith’s control of BETC being reduced. Anyone know if Richard Hill has any involvement in Velvet?

      Delete
    4. Apparently he does!

      Delete
  17. If a new company has been formed (BVT Ltd) it will need to apply for a new Operator's Licence, and demonstrate financial standing etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And if it trades without an o-licence, or is the current BVT trades without appropriate financial standing then that goes to repute. One assumes Phil has formally advised VOSA of these changes, and that he has resigned as of a certain date, otherwise he will find himself at PI with implications for his own repute and his ability to work anywhere else.

      Delete
    2. And if the new owners apply for another licence that application will be considered at PI given the nature of the other issues facing BETC.

      It is quite possible that the current BVT licence will be called to PI, as the new owners are being called on their other licences.

      Delete
  18. I heard that some one from excetera is due in court this week for some reason, weather this is true I have no clue

    ReplyDelete
  19. Can someone suggest why new company BVT is needed? Surely all that is needed is that Smith pays Black Velvet for that company's shares at the agreed value, thus becoming the controlling shareholder.

    Another dodge, wheeze or whatever!?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Does anyone remember armed police turning up to the yard in Merstham after a load of heavys turned up to try and put Adam and Alex Mazza together to sort things out.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Alex Mazza (Giampiero Alessandro Mazza) is the sole owner of the Excetera Group. Richard Hill is just a name on paper as Alex is a banned director.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks.
      This says it all, from the BUSK facebook page on the 21st of this month last year:
      "Richard Hill attended BUSK's meeting in Swindon yesterday, 20 August. He was refused entry initially because BUSK believed he worked for Coaches Etc. When challenged he assured BUSK that he had no connection with Coaches Etc, London. He lied. The information below is from Linkedin and shows that Richard Hill is employed by Coaches Etc as a general manager since 2006 and is still employed by them in this position. Coaches Etc were guilty earlier this year of infringing on BUSK's copyright of it's logo by using the BUSK Benchmark logo on their website. This would have mislead visitors to their website into thinking they had been back ground checked by BUSK for safety and legal compliance. Coaches Etc has never been part of BUSK's Simply Safe or Benchmark schemes, nor would they ever be accepted as members. For more information on this infringement please visit this link on the BUSK website:

      http://busk-uk.co.uk/index.php?page=news&article=coach-company-mislead-customers

      Richard Hill, with whatever hat he chooses to wear, will not be included any further in the development of any projects that BUSK sets up or co-ordinates."

      So much for being banned up to 2017!

      Delete
    2. Fraudulently using a child safety benchmark.... how low can you go...

      How the hell have these people been allowed to buy Velvet?

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    4. There are some very serious allegations above, so I highlight that they have been posted anonymously and that the identity of the poster and the accuracy of the content cannot be verified. Those named are more than welcome to put their side of the story on this forum.

      Delete
  22. Particularly in view of SotonBus's comments above, and in order to avoid posters straying into dubious legal territory, I would like to make clear some factual information:

    1) Black Velvet Travel Ltd was acquired by Adam Smith privately. He owns 100 per cent of the shares.
    2) Black Velvet Travel was not acquired by any part of the Excetera Group
    3) The transaction completed on 31st July and I resigned as a director as of that date
    4) I wrote to the Traffic Commissioner on 1st August informing them of the change of ownership and resigning as Transport Manager
    5) before being allowed even to enter sale discussions, Adam was required to satisfy Chantry Vellacott that he had the financial resources to provide working capital to enable to the company to resume trading and continue trading, and he did so
    6) The names Richard Hill, Alex Mazza and Siri Twillertong have not played any part in the acquisition - indeed I have heard of none of them, and none of them is connected with Black Velvet Travel Ltd to my knowledge (and certainly weren't as at 1st August)
    7) As at 1st August, Black Velvet Travel was not connected in any way with any Excetera Group companies

    As an aside, the public inquiry highlighted above re Surrey Etc is an inquiry into an application for a new licence, not an inquiry into any alleged failings of an existing operation (it took me about thirty seconds to find that out using information in the public domain).

    I myself have not had any involvement in any way with Velvet since 1st August, nor do I plan to do so. I can't vouch for Adam nor any actions he might undertake from that date forwards.

    However, I think it is important to draw a distinction between the legal process followed to complete the sale - which was carried out fully and properly - and people's opinions about Adam and people he may or may not associate with.

    It is worth remembering that as a result of the sale, which as I say was properly executed (and didn't involve the Excetera Group or any individuals apart from Adam Smith), some protection has been provided for staff who would otherwise have been unemployed, and for creditors who would otherwise have been largely unpaid.

    While I am sure people will continue to speculate and monitor developments going forward, and as I say I cannot vouch for anything after 1st August, I feel it is important for people to keep the above factual context in mind.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Sorry, I meant to include

    8) Black Velvet Travel Ltd did not enter administration, go into receivership or instigate any other formal insolvency process at any time

    (This is important when people are considering the implications re operators licence and contracts)

    Sorry for the posting after myself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Phil for your comments.
      I wish you, and all of the staff now under the employment of Smith's Black Velvet Travel, the very best for the future.

      Hopefully purple buses are once again here to stay

      Delete
  24. I can understand the administrators distancing themselves from the negative comments being made. But i can confirm that all that is being said is 100% true. I have seen 1st hand people turning up at their yard in croydon armed with various weapons and asking where the MD is. I know they have eastern european drivers that live in their various sites that are underpaid and over worked. Purely for their own end knowing that these people cant get employment from elsewhere. With holding monies from drivers who leave and as for the HMRC comment i have had drivers call me personally to say they have been contacted by HMRC regarding their taxes. I wouldnt be at all surprised if this accusition is just another front for Excetra because anyone within a 50 mile radius wouldnt touch this lot,and would rather wind their companies up instead of selling out to excetra. All i can say to the current staff of velvet. Be very careful.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank's Phil for your explanation. Please accept my well wishes for the future.

    Of Adam Smith, of course the individual has to be distinct from companies, but still on cannot avoid thoughts of "birds of a feather". It's now up to him to dispel such thoughts in his future operation of Velvet.

    ReplyDelete
  26. @ Phil Stockley
    Did Adam Smith acquire other shareholders'shares or only your majority holding only?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I answered already in point (1) - Adam owns 100 percent of the shares. Hope that helps!

      Delete
    2. All the best for the future, Phil! And cheers for adding further clarification on the deal. I hope things turn out well for Velvet, for the sake of your remaining team. They're the best!

      Delete
  27. All of them, Cold Head.

    I'd very much like to know if one former Velvet shareholder is still employed at Velvet under its new ownership?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thought he'd gone to Xela

      Delete
  28. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  29. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I work for both betc and coaches etc. I have seen no evidence of serious criminal activities. Indeed both alex and adam during the legal dispute both had lots of contacts with the police, solicitors and the courts. It seems most unlikely that they would travel this path if they were involved in any serious criminal matters. If you know this for sure then where is the evidence. Yes both alex and adam duck and dive, but to suggest there is some criminal conspiracy is silly, to me at least. Why would annon posters know this as fact but vosa and the police not.

    I wonder how many people are saying this to the faces of alex and adam. None I bet.

    Are Adam and Alex the best bosses or managers of transport. No far from it. Do they make mistakes, of course.

    As for the current betc driver who said adam is the devil, why not leave now. If adam is asking you to take unfit buses then it is still down to you, if adam says take an unfit bus and you do then you have no reason to complain. As a professional you should not take the bus. If it really bad to work at betc then leave. Truth be told the turnover of staff is not that high. The level of staff complaints regarding the company is far less than a tfl company.

    I would like to point out that I am not a sidekick of adam, he has his faults and i tell him directly, however if you are going to accuse adam then adam must have the right to reply. If you want to accuse him of criminal matters then leave your name so you can be contacted

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    2. Adam or Paul whatever his name is can defend himself on here if he wishes. But to me it looks like someone really has a grudge against Alex and Excetera rather than Adam.

      Delete
    3. I am the driver who described Adam as the devil and I stand by it - with regards to leaving the company I will be doing so next month for a much better job with Arriva. On my final day when I am not worried about my job security I will go up to Adam if he has still managed to avoid prison and I will tell him all my problems with his illegal management structure

      Delete
  31. no i am not nigel, and i am normal driver. I am just pointing out that if this is a serious criminal operation then I have not seen any evidence of this. Seriously, if you thought for one minute that these people were serious criminals would you really want to out them on a public forum. Talk about stupidity. I think you can see what I am getting at. Even if this was a massive criminal operation with guns and heavies and stuff I for one would not be going around saying so.

    I have worked for adam and alex for over two years, I have my gripes, but like I said, other than rumours, I have seen no evidence that the companies are a criminal enterprise. Even if they were then it nothing to do with me as I know better than to go poking my nose into things that do not concern me. I am there to drive a bus and I can speak from experience that I have carried this out with only two breakdowns and no public safety implication. Yes some of the buses are tired and in need of work, however the suggestion that all the buses are dangerous wrecks in just plain silly. I have had no personal issues with either adam or alex and even if there has been disagreement then it has been put behind us. To be honest I got more crap driving at metrobus and even at metrobus were asked to limp a defective bus to the end of route. Indeed I could write a long list on how metrobus were worse to work for than betc.

    To close I am not a spokesman for Adam and I have many moans at him, however I am just there to drive a bus and collect a wage. If accusations are to be made then this is NOT the place to do it.

    do alex and adam have faults, of course, we all do. But charcture assination on a public forum is not the way forward. It is cowardly and unless you are prepared to stand up in a court or law and testify that you have real evidence of corruption, money laundering and all that then it best to say nothing.

    I wish to state again that I am just a driver, it may be that adam is a criminal mastermind, however that is sod all to do with me. I frankly could not care as I am there just to drive up and down and earn some money. Running buses and coaches is an industry with immense public scrutiny so it would be rather silly to enter the industry for criminal gain.

    Even if I am wrong and adam turns out to be a criminal then I do not see what it got to do with us. I just hope Adam did not run hookers as he could have given me good rates.





    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
  32. News to me mate, I have been working for Adam for over two years and traffic commissioner did not interview me. I do work for company. Trust me, we do know each other. Ask me a question about the company and I answer. I can describe the toilet, the drivers room, the dodgy drinks machine, what bus is crap, what messages on the notice board.

    My point is not about legitimate work complaints as I would share concerns. There are plenty of ways in which the company can improve.

    Weather Adam is involved in crime or not is besides the point. That is a matter for others and not us. If people are on here suggesting they have evidence of serious wrong doing then how long before the police start searching for IP addresses of people who are claiming on this very forum that they know stuff FOR A FACT.

    To the driver who said Adam is devil, who are you I wonder? Malcom, Kevin, Simon, Stuart, Matt, Chas, Yaw. I know you all and you know me. Say your name and I say mine. I am just trying to bring balance and ensure fairness. I am just a bog standard driver who has no interest in being judge jury and executioner on a bus forum.

    What people say about Adam would suggest Adam is involved in organised crime. I assume the people who make these claims are doing so because the are on a mission to catch criminals and that they are NOT doing it because they have a personal problem with Adam. My point being is making vexatious comments is not the way to obtain the truth. Indeed it will make things even harder.

    Even if Adam gets shipments of ak47s and is trafficking people I still have no personal issue with Adam. To be honest I do not care. I am there to earn some money and not be a vigilante. If Adam busts in my house with a balaclava on and steals my sock collection then that would be different.

    To the driver is saying he is leaving I would ask why have you not left already. If things were that bad then it follows you would not work there at all. If you are suggesting that Adam is guilty of illegal things then the fact that you KNOW THIS BUT CONTINUE TO WORK THERE makes you just as culpable. If you believe your personal view has integrity then leave NOW and not next month. Indeed if you stay, in the knowledge that you are working under the auspices of the crime then you are in fact a facilitator. You can not consider yourself innocent as you claim you know about illegality so you are a party to this. I just do my job and stay away from office politics. This perhaps makes me ignorant or in the dark. I prefer it that way, my objective is to earn a wage and not go on a personal crusade against one bloke. I have enough problems of my own without worring if adam and nigel are printing pirate dvds.

    People are also reporting that adam is under investigation by the police. Well if anything does come to trial then Adam would have every right to refer his solicitor to this thread as it could jepodise any trial. You can call me whatever but I believe in due process and I believe in innocent until proven guilty. Even if you dislike Adam he still deserves a fair hearing. To all those who have evidence I assume you are standing in court as a witness against Adam or you have provided information to the police. If not then I would question your motives for making such posts.

    My motives are clear. Let the proper people do what they have to do and let judgement be reserved until the facts are revealed.

    If drivers have a genuine gripe about betc then no one would disagree. Indeed the fact we have all these crime rumours makes it even harder to resolve day to day issues.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    2. I am not nigel and I work at betc too. I am concerned but all these stories and rumours are going to make it harder for things to get sorted. That was my concern. This is not about defending nigel or adam but creating the conditions so things can be looked at objectively. If there is nonsense in the background then I would hope all drivers take a step back and keep there heads down. I promise you that me and you know each other and I bet you would be surprised if you knew who I were. It may appear I am against you, but I can assure you it just appears that way. I agree drivers have left, but I also see drivers who been there long time. I think it depends on what people have experienced with adam and nigel. I have not experienced anything horrible and have refused buses and blown out without comeback.

      Delete
  33. Bloody hell.... why do I get the feeling we are getting into it over our heads with this? Come on people we are just a bunch of fun loving individuals from down south, who like a good natter about buses... am I right so far?
    But a few blog's back, yet again the Blairs were getting another good kicking which seemed to be getting a bit to personal at times for my liking
    and then on this blog, well what do you know.... lo and behold apparently the Croydon mafia have turned up!
    Would it not be better if we just stick to the nuts & bolts of the operations
    whatever happens behind the scenes, it will all pan out and come to light in the end, I know people have their own view's but I think at the moment we run the risk of having this forum shut down if we don't all try and calm down a bit!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Well said Terry. I believe it would be best if this thread is closed or just limited to discussing velvet and its operations, at least from the passenger perspective. I am not sure who started the campaign against the managers of the etc company, I would hazard a guess that this forum is being monitored by persons close to Mr Smith. It would be advisable for all to do as Terry suggests and calm down a bit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes enough has been said-PAC

      Delete
  35. +1 who thinks the thread should be locked. It's a great pity that the requiem for a good operator running good services has become so aggressive and bitter

    ReplyDelete
  36. Im with coldhead. Please lock. Enough is enough.

    ReplyDelete
  37. No censorship!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I think part of the problem stems from Chantrey Vellacott which has failed to deliver a half decent press release on the deal. We don't want to hear from the middle man... where's the comment from Mr Smith himself on his latest acquisition? As the blog post we're all commenting on asks, just who is Mr Smith? It's led media outlets like this blog and the Echo into linking Velvet to BETC and in doing so presenting readers with a BETC takeover when - on paper - it's not or designed not to be. A PR nightmare, needing further clarification by the former owner. However will Velvet do without you, Phil?!

    Just goes to show you have to be very careful in what you say and how you go about doing things...

    ReplyDelete
  39. What was the outcome of Adams court appearance

    ReplyDelete
  40. This has nothing to do with censorship. This is refraining from making statements which may be untrue or may bring unwanted attention to those who run this blog. Regardless of what you feel about Mr Smith we should not use this forum as a means to settle scores or spread stories. Furthermore we have to consider the staff of velvet who have been caught up in a most unfortunate situation. Members of the public, county councils etc can see this thread and this may put innocent velvet drivers in a bad light. Personal issues with Mr Smith should be kept personal. This is not censorship, it is showing restraint and respecting the staff at velvet have nothing to do with what Mr Smith did in Surrey. If you disagree then I feel this is unfair to the drivers at velvet who are just doing a job and perhaps do not want to be dragged into a dispute. Some of the accusations are very serious and all it takes it someone to take note and for the police to raid Velvet because someone is going round telling stories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The police don't "raid" businesses based on hear-say. What planet are you on?

      Delete
    2. If you have nothing to hide why would you fear a " raid " ?? I for sure would not , I would welcome it as it would enforce my standing as being found with nothing wrong . Hello Adam/Ian/Paul ?

      Delete
  41. I agree the posts on this story have become out of hand and I expect some might have been exaggerated - That is the problem with this kind of blog. The so called "Sofa Warriors" are only trying to look impressive with their fabricated knowledge of the industry. With regards to whether some of the info shared on this blog could be of use to the police - I doubt it would be of any use just a waste of police time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it prob would be waste of police time but still some of comments have been a tad extreme as to these criminal scams, if this was true i doubt folk would want to grass up a criminal network on a public bus forum as that would be a most silly thing to do. for those casual folk looking in rest assured velvet is not going to be a mafia outpost, setting up a bus company is hardly the best place to hide ill gotten gains from the authorities. lets be logical and put this nonsense to bed once and for all.

      Delete
  42. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Blimey ! This has certainly ousted Phil B and Gareth from the spolight on this blog, hasn't it ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes-nice to see they are both having a rest for a change-PAC

      Delete
    2. All this scaremongering and speculation makes a change, I suppose!

      I'll take this opportunity to say it's a real positive step forward for Xela to rethink/recreate their online presence. In light of this thread though and the stick they get on this blog, perhaps they may consider consulting with PR professionals to help them start out on that road - worth the investment I feel.

      I was also pleased and relived to be informed by them on here that some former Velvet drivers had gained employment with them - I didn't consider it in bad taste at all unlike some posters remarked - it was good to know. Perhaps some anons' posts should be taken with a pinch of salt...

      Best of luck to the Blairs.

      Delete
  44. I find this thread most interesting ,and in the public interest.It should continue. Either these rumours and stories will be proved correct very shortly,or they will not.Hardly a good CV though if any parts are true.

    As for X-bus needing PR help,they are self-proclaimed bus marketing experts,and should need no help from anyone.Rapid growth is often followed by equally rapid decline with small bus companies.Will they buck the trend?

    ReplyDelete
  45. This thread is quite a story - you could make an Eastenders episode or two out of it! If the new Velvet owner gets approval from the relevant authorities well that's it isn't it? He may or may not be doing other 'activities' but if he gets the "thumbs-up" from the relevant authorities then that's all he needs. If anyone isn't happy with anything he does the best thing to do is report in the correct place directly (Police, Vosa, FBI, CI5, Crimewatch or whatever) & let them deal with it. Again it shows that this blog whilst a great read should perhaps be registered names only & no Anons. And that from an Anon. (Not one who miffed off either of the Blairs though!)

    ReplyDelete
  46. OK, I think this thread has gone far enough. If someone thinks someone else is involved in criminal activity then they should go to the police and any other relevant public authorities. Making accusations of criminal behaviour in the comments section of a blog is not the most constructive way to go about things.

    While I am reluctant to delete comments, many have been posted here that potentially cross a line both legally and morally. In law, we are all innocent until proven guilty, so certain posts will be removed and future posts on this thread will be vetted before they appear.

    A warm welcome to all our new readers. It's normally a lot calmer than this, honestly!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Read the Daily Echo today... Information about Adam Smith inside. Enjoy...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/11396231.New_bus_boss_facing_criminal_proceedings/?ref=mr

      Delete
    2. Nice one Echo, I know you'll be reading this!

      Keep us informed won't you. You've redeemed yourselves from your earlier coverage of Velvet's collapse. Knew you would. And with your politics reporter too. Ahh, that takes me back! ;)

      Cheerio!

      Delete
    3. Right we all have the message now,in reading the Echo report,so can no more be said until after the 18th August 2014 after the court case when we should all know what the outcome is.That will be the time to comment wether good or bad-PAC

      Delete
    4. Echo got it WRONG AGAIN - Velvet did not go into Administration!

      Delete
    5. Puzzled !! If not in administration what was Chantry Velacott's role if not administrator ?

      Delete
    6. Chantry Vellacott are accountants who specialise in assisting struggling businesses. Their role was to advise the company on the available options given the financial difficulties, to ensure that the company and me as director complied with all the relevant rules about trading when insolvent, and to try to find a way forward for the company that would avoid administration or liquidation. They ultimately succeeded in doing this, but if it had proved necessary to go into administration then they would indeed have performed that role.

      Delete
  48. If a company has reached a state where the directors have reason to believe that it will be unable to pay it's debts as they fall due, then they must cease trading or they will leave themselves open to charges of wrongful trading. Mr. Stockley, no doubt consulted, Chantry Velacott for advice on this matter. In the normal course of events they would have been appointed administrators however Mr. Smith popped up and obviously made an acceptable offer for all the shares thus relieving Mr. Stockley of any responsibility for the future conduct of the company. Chantry Vellacott were working for Mr. Stockley, not the company.
    It is worth noting that an "acceptable offer" can mean any of the following-
    (a) Mr. Smith paid money for the company or,
    (b) Mr. Smith paid £1 for the company.
    (c) Mr. Smith paid £1 for the company and was given a sweetener e.g. the previous shareholders may have agreed to write off loans or to pay certain creditors themselves.
    Which of those scenarios is correct is unlikely to become public knowledge unless it all goes pear shaped.

    As others have said, it is not a good time for the employees and they have my sympathy

    ReplyDelete
  49. http://sotonbus.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/bluestar-hands-m-back-to-velvet.html?showComment=1406032776130#c1346574912286501765 If you read that it explains the administration or non administration re Velvet

    ReplyDelete
  50. FWIW from Companies House Webcheck Mr Smith's fellow director of BVT is a MR MICHAEL JOHN BISHOP http://companycheck.co.uk/director/916955716/MR-MICHAEL-JOHN-BISHOP

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Used to be involved with that other (failed) quality operation called Countryliner!

      Delete
  51. Did Phil's Velvet have penalty fares? The supposed unrelated to Velvet, Buses Etcetera does: £50!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Anyone have the details of the courtroom events of the 18th? Mr Bishop was spotted in Eastleigh today. I'm not sure if the entity which has taken on the outfit formerly known as Velvet are still connected with the 'Etc' group though.All getting very murky apparently.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Who is Mr Bishop!
    As to Smith's trial despite considerable searching in court related sites and local news I have seen nothing. Has person who posted details; 18 August and Kingston Crown Court gotit wrong, perhaps?

    ReplyDelete
  54. To the person who has been trying to post news of a plea in the court case: Thanks for your contributions. They are appreciated, but could you please provide a link via which I can verify the information you want to share? I've done a few searches and can't verify the accuracy myself. For legal reasons, I want to make absolutely sure the information is correct before it is published here. Many thanks! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 15-08-2014 Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court 5 T20130648
      **** **** ****




      Details: For Plea - Case adjourned until 14:45 - 14:31
      For Plea - Resume - 14:49
      For Plea - Case to be listed for Sentence on 02-Sep-2014 - 15:04

      Get someone who has access & account to open this http://www.thelawpages.com/court-hearings-lists/crown-court-lists-results.php.
      The photo I have quotes the same case number, above, but adds his name. I do not have an account.

      I have been sent a photo of the above, which includes his name on it. The local paper, the Echo, should be able to access it.
      Hove Ex-Pat, Surrey.

      Delete
    2. Details of Mr Smith's court appearance; http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/11450476.New_owner_of_bus_firm_avoids_jail_over_fake_cash/

      Delete
  55. Just to qualify that he changed his name from Paul Jones to Adam Smith, when he was 18 but I think not for a family dispute unless he has made his peace with his family, considering until last week his father was driving for him as well as previously moonlighting when working for Quality Line in Epsom.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Read the Southern Daily Echo, Thursday 4th Sept. Court case now reported in detail, confirming all I said before.
    Hove Ex-Pat.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Details in the Echo today:

    http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/11450476.New_owner_of_bus_firm_avoids_jail_over_fake_cash/

    ReplyDelete
  58. As of Thursday evening the Southern Daily Echo has removed all existing comments & blocked any new ones. Shame on them.

    ReplyDelete