Troubled transport provider for special needs children in Croydon and Sutton, Ruskin Private Hire, closes

This Is Local London: Ruskin Private Hire that took some 250 children with special needs to school has closed Ruskin Private Hire that took some 250 children with special needs to school has closed

Alternative plans for hundreds of children with special needs to get to school have been put in place after a transport company went bust.

Croydon Council is ensuring some 250 local children with special educational needs continue to get safely to and from school following the anticipated closure of local transport firm Ruskin Private Hire.

Sutton Council has also said there should be no disruption for 27 children in the borough who used Ruskin transport to get to and from school.

Administrators were appointed last Friday, February 14, after the company fell into major financial difficulty.

Despite some expressions of interest for the business and assets of the company, a solution could not be found and it was announced yesterday Ruskin had been forced to close.

Croydon was one of Ruskin’s largest contracts and the council worked closely with the administrators since the company went into administration.

The council’s priority throughout the administration period – that fell over school half term - has been to minimise any interruption in routine for children who use the service when they return to school on Monday.

Croydon has similar contracts with several other firms and they had been held on standby until it was known for certain that Ruskin Private Hire could not continue as a going concern.

Council staff made contact with as many as possible of Ruskin’s former drivers and the escort staff who look after children whilst they are being transported.

They were given details of the other firms who would be taking over the as the council understood there may be vacancies at those firms and this might help reduce the impact on the children on those routes.

Calls are also being made to every parent with a child likely to be affected so they are clear about what arrangements would be put in place for them.

Sutton Council will be using its other transport providers to take over the work provided by Ruskin.

All of the council’s special educational needs transport contracts are due to be retendered this summer and the council has said it will be seeking to get the best possible prices while at the same time guaranteeing the quality of service provided.

Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, families and learning, said: “We were clearly concerned when the news broke Ruskin Private Hire was forced to seek the protection of administration.

However we’d been aware for some time prior to its entering administration of the fact they were facing difficulties, and as a result we had several contingency plans in place. Staff have spent many hours contacting every family with a child on one of the affected routes to make sure they know exactly what is going on.”

Comments (13)

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12:55pm Sat 22 Feb 14

Giles C says...

Another great piece of procurement by LBS.. Who did the due diligence on them?
Another great piece of procurement by LBS.. Who did the due diligence on them? Giles C
  • Score: 1

3:16pm Sat 22 Feb 14

charliewright says...

Croydon council should NEVER have taken away the licensed (black) taxis providing this service. Worked for years and years. Good , safe trustworthy drivers with escorts. And who loses out? The children & their families!
Croydon council should NEVER have taken away the licensed (black) taxis providing this service. Worked for years and years. Good , safe trustworthy drivers with escorts. And who loses out? The children & their families! charliewright
  • Score: 2

3:25pm Sat 22 Feb 14

alroutemaster says...

It should never have been the responsibility of the council taxpayers to provide this transport in the first place. The parents should take their children to school like everybody else does.
It should never have been the responsibility of the council taxpayers to provide this transport in the first place. The parents should take their children to school like everybody else does. alroutemaster
  • Score: -4

3:57pm Sat 22 Feb 14

Binsanity says...

Please ensure us that any emergency acxillary transport provider is vetted and there is no risk to our children. I worry that a quick solution to this problem will open the doors to undesirible drivers/carers.
Please ensure us that any emergency acxillary transport provider is vetted and there is no risk to our children. I worry that a quick solution to this problem will open the doors to undesirible drivers/carers. Binsanity
  • Score: 2

4:26pm Sat 22 Feb 14

Den62 says...

Well my son is one of those affected by this and we haven't heard a word about it although the bus just failed to turn up one day so I thought something was amiss.The only news we are getting is through this website,I have heard nothing from the council. I'm very sad for the staff, our escorts and drivers are wonderful so I hope they will be able to find employment elsewhere.
Well my son is one of those affected by this and we haven't heard a word about it although the bus just failed to turn up one day so I thought something was amiss.The only news we are getting is through this website,I have heard nothing from the council. I'm very sad for the staff, our escorts and drivers are wonderful so I hope they will be able to find employment elsewhere. Den62
  • Score: 8

4:33pm Sat 22 Feb 14

Mr Flange of Wallington says...

Why don't Councils provide this service directly, instead of outsourcing so cheaply, the provider goes bust?

I feel for the kids and their parents. Any change in routine will hit them hard.
Why don't Councils provide this service directly, instead of outsourcing so cheaply, the provider goes bust? I feel for the kids and their parents. Any change in routine will hit them hard. Mr Flange of Wallington
  • Score: 6

5:54pm Sat 22 Feb 14

MotherOf One says...

alroutemaster wrote:
It should never have been the responsibility of the council taxpayers to provide this transport in the first place. The parents should take their children to school like everybody else does.
It is the responsibility of any council to provide an education for all children. If the local council do not make provision for children with special needs in all of its authority schools, then they have to fund the transport to a school where they will provide it.

It is very common for children to have to travel out of borough in Sutton, to schools miles away that can meet their needs. If LBS can not be bothered to ensure all local schools provide an education for all children, then it is only fair these families are not further disadvantaged by excessive travel costs and lengthy journeys.
[quote][p][bold]alroutemaster[/bold] wrote: It should never have been the responsibility of the council taxpayers to provide this transport in the first place. The parents should take their children to school like everybody else does.[/p][/quote]It is the responsibility of any council to provide an education for all children. If the local council do not make provision for children with special needs in all of its authority schools, then they have to fund the transport to a school where they will provide it. It is very common for children to have to travel out of borough in Sutton, to schools miles away that can meet their needs. If LBS can not be bothered to ensure all local schools provide an education for all children, then it is only fair these families are not further disadvantaged by excessive travel costs and lengthy journeys. MotherOf One
  • Score: 6

8:59am Sun 23 Feb 14

alroutemaster says...

MotherOf One wrote:
alroutemaster wrote:
It should never have been the responsibility of the council taxpayers to provide this transport in the first place. The parents should take their children to school like everybody else does.
It is the responsibility of any council to provide an education for all children. If the local council do not make provision for children with special needs in all of its authority schools, then they have to fund the transport to a school where they will provide it.

It is very common for children to have to travel out of borough in Sutton, to schools miles away that can meet their needs. If LBS can not be bothered to ensure all local schools provide an education for all children, then it is only fair these families are not further disadvantaged by excessive travel costs and lengthy journeys.
Excessive transport costs? All kids get free bus travel, that's enough
[quote][p][bold]MotherOf One[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]alroutemaster[/bold] wrote: It should never have been the responsibility of the council taxpayers to provide this transport in the first place. The parents should take their children to school like everybody else does.[/p][/quote]It is the responsibility of any council to provide an education for all children. If the local council do not make provision for children with special needs in all of its authority schools, then they have to fund the transport to a school where they will provide it. It is very common for children to have to travel out of borough in Sutton, to schools miles away that can meet their needs. If LBS can not be bothered to ensure all local schools provide an education for all children, then it is only fair these families are not further disadvantaged by excessive travel costs and lengthy journeys.[/p][/quote]Excessive transport costs? All kids get free bus travel, that's enough alroutemaster
  • Score: 1

9:07am Sun 23 Feb 14

mikellis says...

When routes are tendered and cost is the only factor in allocation, it forces the price down making operators cut their profit margins to the bone.
In reality the children suffer when one of the local authority operators is, through lack of funds, unable to continue its operation.
As a Private Hire Operator, I have long campaigned for a fair and proper pricing structure, the demise of Ruskin only goes to prove that cheapest is not in this instance best!!!
When routes are tendered and cost is the only factor in allocation, it forces the price down making operators cut their profit margins to the bone. In reality the children suffer when one of the local authority operators is, through lack of funds, unable to continue its operation. As a Private Hire Operator, I have long campaigned for a fair and proper pricing structure, the demise of Ruskin only goes to prove that cheapest is not in this instance best!!! mikellis
  • Score: 0

11:05am Sun 23 Feb 14

MotherOf One says...

alroutemaster wrote:
MotherOf One wrote:
alroutemaster wrote:
It should never have been the responsibility of the council taxpayers to provide this transport in the first place. The parents should take their children to school like everybody else does.
It is the responsibility of any council to provide an education for all children. If the local council do not make provision for children with special needs in all of its authority schools, then they have to fund the transport to a school where they will provide it.

It is very common for children to have to travel out of borough in Sutton, to schools miles away that can meet their needs. If LBS can not be bothered to ensure all local schools provide an education for all children, then it is only fair these families are not further disadvantaged by excessive travel costs and lengthy journeys.
Excessive transport costs? All kids get free bus travel, that's enough
There is legislation in place to ensure all children do not travel excessive distances to school. It is measured in both distance and time. If a council places a child in a school that is beyond the required travelling distance set by the government, the council has to provide the transport.

It must be adhered to by all councils, irrelevant of the child's needs. There are thousands of children are being transported in private taxis every day, often purely because the local council has run out of school places for all it's children.

Families who can not attend schools in their neighbourhood must not be disadvantaged.

The distance many special needs children are sent everyday to attend school is shocking. There are not enough local schools that will take these children.

The free bus travel you mention isn't technically free though is it? It is still funded by taxpayers.
[quote][p][bold]alroutemaster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]MotherOf One[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]alroutemaster[/bold] wrote: It should never have been the responsibility of the council taxpayers to provide this transport in the first place. The parents should take their children to school like everybody else does.[/p][/quote]It is the responsibility of any council to provide an education for all children. If the local council do not make provision for children with special needs in all of its authority schools, then they have to fund the transport to a school where they will provide it. It is very common for children to have to travel out of borough in Sutton, to schools miles away that can meet their needs. If LBS can not be bothered to ensure all local schools provide an education for all children, then it is only fair these families are not further disadvantaged by excessive travel costs and lengthy journeys.[/p][/quote]Excessive transport costs? All kids get free bus travel, that's enough[/p][/quote]There is legislation in place to ensure all children do not travel excessive distances to school. It is measured in both distance and time. If a council places a child in a school that is beyond the required travelling distance set by the government, the council has to provide the transport. It must be adhered to by all councils, irrelevant of the child's needs. There are thousands of children are being transported in private taxis every day, often purely because the local council has run out of school places for all it's children. Families who can not attend schools in their neighbourhood must not be disadvantaged. The distance many special needs children are sent everyday to attend school is shocking. There are not enough local schools that will take these children. The free bus travel you mention isn't technically free though is it? It is still funded by taxpayers. MotherOf One
  • Score: 4

12:58pm Sun 23 Feb 14

alroutemaster says...

The problem is not that there are not enough places at local schools, it is that there are too many of these kids with "special needs". Unfortunately with uncontrolled immigration and breeding there are not enough places at local schools for normal children either.......
The problem is not that there are not enough places at local schools, it is that there are too many of these kids with "special needs". Unfortunately with uncontrolled immigration and breeding there are not enough places at local schools for normal children either....... alroutemaster
  • Score: -2

2:09pm Sun 23 Feb 14

micgaelds49@gmail.com says...

Most children transported by Sutton are taken to schools in Sutton not outside of Borough.
Black cabs never provided this service as all the crews (certainly the Croydon ones) are ex council employees transferred under TUPE. Black cabs cannot carry four wheelchairs and a passenger assistant. Cabs are no the answer for most of these type of journeys. Nor is the Council the answer - all councils are very bad at providing transport to the extent that they cannot get transport managers to work for them.
The real issue here is Croydon council tearing up contracts and refusing to pay losses incurred as a result. This was done to save political embarrassment by Cllr. Fisher. Sutton are drawn into this as happens with so many things. But it is not their fault and nor are black cabs the answer.
Most children transported by Sutton are taken to schools in Sutton not outside of Borough. Black cabs never provided this service as all the crews (certainly the Croydon ones) are ex council employees transferred under TUPE. Black cabs cannot carry four wheelchairs and a passenger assistant. Cabs are no the answer for most of these type of journeys. Nor is the Council the answer - all councils are very bad at providing transport to the extent that they cannot get transport managers to work for them. The real issue here is Croydon council tearing up contracts and refusing to pay losses incurred as a result. This was done to save political embarrassment by Cllr. Fisher. Sutton are drawn into this as happens with so many things. But it is not their fault and nor are black cabs the answer. micgaelds49@gmail.com
  • Score: 0

4:30pm Sun 23 Feb 14

alroutemaster says...

London Dial a Ride seem to have an unlimited supply of vehicles and drivers, judging by the number I see driving around empty in my area. Can't they transport these kids? And if wheelchairs are involved, why did we have to get rid of my namesake, the excellent Routemaster bus if nobody uses the new wheelchair accessible ones............?
London Dial a Ride seem to have an unlimited supply of vehicles and drivers, judging by the number I see driving around empty in my area. Can't they transport these kids? And if wheelchairs are involved, why did we have to get rid of my namesake, the excellent Routemaster bus if nobody uses the new wheelchair accessible ones............? alroutemaster
  • Score: 1

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