Bus rivals fight over town route

A WAR of words has broken out between two rival bus firms in Ilkeston.

Felix have issued a leaflet urging its customers to continue using its Black Cat buses after TrentBarton revealed plans to launch a rival service covering the same route.

But bosses at TrentBarton claim they are only starting the route because of rumours about the future of Felix.

The problems erupted when TrentBarton announced it was starting a temporary service on Monday October 24 until Wednesday November 2, running from the Ilkeston Co-op to Derby bus station and leaving five minutes before the Black Cat runs the same route.

In response Felix put out a leaflet on its buses urging its customers to let the TrentBarton buses pass and continue using its services.

The leaflet reads: “We are asking all our customers to stand back and let the rival bus pass and to catch the Felix bus as usual – you know our red and white buses and more importantly you know our drivers.

“As you can imagine if we don’t take any fares we shall lose all our takings for the nine days and this even matters if you use a Gold Card free pass.”

But in response TrentBarton claim they have only taken on the new route because Felix are planning to stop running the buses.

A spokesman for TrentBarton said: “We were made aware that Felix were seeking to dispose of their bus services and felt that it was important to safeguard the full timetable for all customers along these routes. Our intentions now and in the future is for our locally-owned business to provide the best service possible to all our customers in the area, a reputation we have built over time, serving the region for over a century.”

A spokesman for Felix refused to comment about the closure claims but admitted they had put the leaflets out ‘to urge people to continue using the Felix service’.

However, the whole situation has left customers confused about what to do.

Ian Pickering told the Advertiser: “It seems that bus wars have broken out but it’s all a bit confusing.

“As passengers we don’t know anything about what’s happening.

“If we knew what this was all about we’d be able to decide who to support but no one has explained anything.”