Demand-responsive and special educational needs services in West Midlands continue to operate at the over 600-vehicle charity; some local bus services already reallocated to other operators in region
Birmingham charity Accessible Transport Group (ATG), which describes itself as the UK’s largest accessible transport provider, has entered administration, bringing uncertainty to hundreds of minibus services in the West Midlands.
ATG, the holding body for charities Ring and Ride West Midlands and ATG Contract Services, employed over 900 people at the time its most recent accounts were filed. A loss of £205,373 was recorded in the same period. ATG’s accounts for 2017/18 are overdue.
DRT, SEN as normal
The accounts state that all staff were employed and that none were volunteers. A statement from administrators Duff and Phelps says that “over 700” people are now employed.
It is understood that special educational needs and demand-responsive minibus services are operating as normal.
Many local bus contracts are operated by ATG Contract Services under the iGo brand. A handful have already been transferred to other companies, including Diamond Bus and Johnsons Coach and Bus Travel.
Information from the Charity Commission states that ATG operates 528 accessible minibuses and 87 larger PCVs. While it uses Section 19 and Section 22 permits, it also has an O-Licence for 15 vehicles.
Under an agreement with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), ATG received a £7.1m grant for its Ring and Ride arm in 2018/19, a lower sum than in the previous two financial years. In its most recent accounts, the group stated that its policy has been to develop the ATG Contract Services business, with surpluses directed towards Ring and Ride.
Says Joint Administrator Matthew Ingram: “The majority of services that the charities provide are vital to those that rely on them for journeys that they would otherwise be unable to make.
“We are in contact with Birmingham City Council, Transport for the West Midlands and WMCA, and working with them to try to ensure that there is no interruption to the day-to-day operations of the charities while we seek to secure the long-term provision of the essential services they provide.”