Felix route buy-out ends town ‘bus wars’

Ilkeston Flyer
Ilkeston Flyer

BUS routes which have served Ilkeston for 85 years will now be run by Trent Barton, bringing ‘bus wars’ between the firm and Stanley-based Felix to an end.

The familiar Black Cat and Ilkeston Flyer services have been bought out by the Langley Mill firm’s parent company Wellglade for an undisclosed sum, it was revealed this week.

Leaflets issued by Felix urged customers not to use Trent Barton buses which appeared to be using the same route as the Black Cat in recent weeks, leaving passengers confused.

Felix refused to comment on the takeover this week, but Trent Barton managing director Jeff Counsell confirmed that there would be no job losses among the ten staff on the two services.

“The same drivers will be working on the routes and there are no current plans to alter the frequency of services,” he explained.

“We have nothing but respect for Felix and what their staff have achieved and we are delighted to be involved in a deal that benefits all concerned.”

Adding to the confusion over the leaflets, Mr Counsell said that Felix first offered its bus operations for sale some months ago.

“For many years we have worked closely with Felix to ensure that communities between Ilkeston and Derby receive a first class bus service,” he said.

The two services will continue to operate as a distinct unit, he explained.

Assets involved will be transferred in January and Felix will keep its own brand name and continue its coach operations. Both services run into Derby with the hourly Black Cat following a route via Stanley and West Hallam.