Family coach firm Hatts Travel to announce it is ceasing to trade
Updated 12:02pm Friday 25th July 2014 in By Julie Armstrong, Senior reporter
Family coach firm Hatts Travel is expected to announce at noon today it is ceasing to trade with the loss of 89 jobs.
Coach drivers and other staff have been summoned to the company's headquarters at Foxham, near Chippenham.
The Wiltshire private hire coach company, which celebrated its 85th anniversary last year, has a fleet of over 40 luxury coaches and is headed by Adrian and Jill Hillier, who live in Chippenham.
They also provide group travel to Sheldon and Hardenhuish schools in Chippenham, John Bentley School in Calne, Malmesbury and Corsham schools and Lackham College among others.
Salisbury Reds made an announcement on Facebook this morning it would be taking over eight of Hatts’ services which run through Salisbury.
The post at about 7am reads: “Here at Salisbury Reds we are pleased to announce that with effect from today Friday 25 July will be operating the following services on behalf of Wiltshire Council, due to Hatts Travel ceasing to trade.
“We will not be charging fares on these routes until Monday 28 July. Key cards will be accepted for travel on these routes.
“If you have a Hatts season ticket or period pass these tickets will be valid until they expire. Fares have not changed on these routes. Our key products are also valid on these services.”
Hatts customer Michael Nutland, 65, of Moyne Close, Devizes, has a trip to Weymouth booked with Hatts on August 29.
Mr Nutland said he was “gutted and stressed” to read the post and had phoned the company straight away.
He said: “The lady who answered didn’t know anything about it. She put me on hold and came back with a lump in her throat saying there would be a press release later today.
“They wouldn’t comment on whether they were ABTA protected.”
He and his wife Karen, 54, said they had not had a holiday for six years because of finances and had spent £404 on their trips to Weymouth plus Westonbirt Illuminations in December.
He said they paid by debit card so was not sure if they would be able to recover the money.
Bodman's Coaches, based at Worton, near Devizes, was taken over by Hatts a few years ago and uses the brand name Wiltshire Buses.
Nobody was commenting today at its offices, referring all enquiries to Adrian Hillier.
Have you lost out on a holiday or did you work for Hatts or one of its sister companies? Email Julie Armstrong at email@example.com
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