Velvet Fox

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nesw

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Phil Stockley of TM Travel fame and previously of Velvet bus , has resurrected his former brand as Velvet Fox.

As you maybe aware the Public transport experience blog has been looking at the "operations" of the various "Fox" businesses in the Bristol area & today's post http://publictransportexperience.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/the-greyhound-and-fox-part-3.html appears to have upset Mr. Stockley and he has given a robust reply in the comments section.

"To see this blog stoop to such a highly personalised attack on a young guy trying to make his way in business is distressing and I really wonder what you hope to achieve.

If you're building up to the dramatic conclusion that CityFox doesn't run an extensive network of bus services in Bristol, I'll spoil your fun by confirming that indeed it doesn't, nor does it claim to.

Just for fun i've just waded through a year of CityFox's Facebook posts and can't see a single reference to running any bus service in Bristol other than Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Indeed, somewhere in the middle of it all is the announcement of the decision not to run buses under the KernowFox brand, due to the uncertain regulatory position in Cornwall - hardly a rash or irresponsible decision and saving you the need for any investigative journalism from your team of 'correspondents'.

So City Fox doesn't presently have a vast fleet of buses or routes, and doesn't make any claim to do so. Who does this harm, to warrant such a vindictive attack?

What CityFox does have in abundance is taxis. They don't all have logos on the side - taxis very frequently don't - but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

Spend a few hours in Bristol in particular and you will see plenty of Cityfoxes running about. But bear in mind there are a thousand taxis on the streets of Bristol so don't be surprised when the ranks aren't full of foxes.

As for Velvet Fox, well of course no-one knows what it's about. We set it up less than a month ago, and since when has it been a requirement for new companies to announce their commercially sensitive plans just to keep the spotters happy?

As you and your commenters have observed, Rhys has been doing a lot of work with me at TM recently on marketing projects and updating the brand image and even redecorating the depot and other projects behind the scenes, and the results have been first class.

I am proud to be associated with Rhys and the CityFox team. When you actually bother to get to know him rather than joining the ranks of haters trying to take cheap potshots, you find someone who is driven, determined and ambitious, but also keen to learn and improve. I am proud to stand side by side with him and will do everything I can to help him make the amazing contribution to the world of transport that I know he will make.

Such a personal assault is unwarranted and does you no credit.

Phil"

Make of it as you will.
 
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THarris123

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Phil Stockley of TM Travel fame and previously of Velvet bus , has resurrected his former brand as Velvet Fox.

As you maybe aware the Public transport experience blog has been looking at the "operations" of the various "Fox" businesses in the Bristol area & today's post http://publictransportexperience.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/the-greyhound-and-fox-part-3.html appears to have upset Mr. Stockley and he has given a robust reply in the comments section.

"To see this blog stoop to such a highly personalised attack on a young guy trying to make his way in business is distressing and I really wonder what you hope to achieve.

If you're building up to the dramatic conclusion that CityFox doesn't run an extensive network of bus services in Bristol, I'll spoil your fun by confirming that indeed it doesn't, nor does it claim to.

Just for fun i've just waded through a year of CityFox's Facebook posts and can't see a single reference to running any bus service in Bristol other than Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Indeed, somewhere in the middle of it all is the announcement of the decision not to run buses under the KernowFox brand, due to the uncertain regulatory position in Cornwall - hardly a rash or irresponsible decision and saving you the need for any investigative journalism from your team of 'correspondents'.

So City Fox doesn't presently have a vast fleet of buses or routes, and doesn't make any claim to do so. Who does this harm, to warrant such a vindictive attack?

What CityFox does have in abundance is taxis. They don't all have logos on the side - taxis very frequently don't - but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

Spend a few hours in Bristol in particular and you will see plenty of Cityfoxes running about. But bear in mind there are a thousand taxis on the streets of Bristol so don't be surprised when the ranks aren't full of foxes.

As for Velvet Fox, well of course no-one knows what it's about. We set it up less than a month ago, and since when has it been a requirement for new companies to announce their commercially sensitive plans just to keep the spotters happy?

As you and your commenters have observed, Rhys has been doing a lot of work with me at TM recently on marketing projects and updating the brand image and even redecorating the depot and other projects behind the scenes, and the results have been first class.

I am proud to be associated with Rhys and the CityFox team. When you actually bother to get to know him rather than joining the ranks of haters trying to take cheap potshots, you find someone who is driven, determined and ambitious, but also keen to learn and improve. I am proud to stand side by side with him and will do everything I can to help him make the amazing contribution to the world of transport that I know he will make.

Such a personal assault is unwarranted and does you no credit.

Phil"

Make of it as you will.

Well he sounds like a bit of a tw*t to be quite honest. When I read through that I couldn't see that they were being particularly vindictive. Hopefully Cityfox won't go into bus operation more, as I certainly wouldn't want to have that person managing it or even as a driver.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Well he sounds like a bit of a tw*t to be quite honest. When I read through that I couldn't see that they were being particularly vindictive. Hopefully Cityfox won't go into bus operation more, as I certainly wouldn't want to have that person managing it or even as a driver.

To be fair, I have a lot of time for Phil Stockley. He talks a lot of sense, has a lot of experience, has tried to do things differently and knows his stuff. I don't agree with everything he says but he's no twit ;) and he commands respect. He also has every right to defend a friend of his and he's perfectly within his rights to say what he has about VelvetFox.

That said, FBB has every right to explore the various events and non-events of the Fox Group. Let's not forget that we've seen a claimed takeover of an existing business (Claribels - blamed on a disgruntled employee). We've seen KernowFox that was all systems go but then wasn't. We've had images posted that are photoshopped; no crime in that but often alluding to vehicles being prepared for service or new spheres of operation that simply aren't true.

I've jokingly mentioned the phantom appearances of CityFox but perhaps Phil should reflect on all of that and more. Yes, he is defending a friend and yes, we should applaud those entrepreneurs who try and try to succeed. By the same token, we have heard many things from and of the Fox Group with very little substance. Perhaps the questioning of FBB may seem uncomfortable (and I certainly have crossed swords with him before) but a sceptical tone is perhaps understandable.
 

PhilStockley

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People can make of my comments what they wish. I've been around the track enough times not to worry too much what people think of me, and my record - good and bad - is out there for all to see. But the things that particularly incensed me here were:

1) After a pretty benign first two posts, the third post was starting to become distinctly personal - even beginning with a picture of Rhys and his address printed in big letters underneath. I can't let such a personalised attack pass without challenge.
2) the fact that FBB claims to be carrying out an investigation, but had made no attempt to contact Rhys or CityFox to put his questions or concerns. I would have thought that a balanced investigation might start with the company's perspective, then balance that with any contrasting evidence to allow the reader to judge for themselves. This series of posts felt extremely one sided.
3) specifically in respect of VelvetFox but more generally in respect of a number of FBB's assertions, the notion that a commercial business is accountable to readers of an Internet forum for its activities. FBB said that "no-one seems to know" why VelvetFox exists. Well why would they - we started the business less than a month ago and as far as I'm aware are not under any obligation to disclose to readers of Internet forums what our commercially sensitive business plans are! Of course, FBB could have asked me - he knows where to find me - but didn't.

All of which left me with the impression that this was a pretty one-sided, unbalanced, personalised attack. Everyone is entitled to form their own views of me and Rhys but in all my dealings with him I've found him to be a very talented, intelligent, determined guy and the work he has done with me at TM has been absolutely first class.

Thats why I commented in the way I did, and I stand by every word!
 
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carlberry

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The problem has been that, over many years, the name has been associated with countless announcements about services that they are going to run, areas they’re going to expand into, and other companies services that they claim to run. It may be that all of these are rumours started by other people and it may be that the current Facebook page doesn’t reflect this but a company that's been willing to make so much noise (or has been associated with so much noise) in the past can’t be that surprised when people start asking questions about what they might be up to with a new venture; even if they're willing to write them all off as 'spotters'.
Hopefully Mr Stockley’s involvement means that there will be a more mature approach in future.
 

Mr Manager

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i wonder how the proposed Velvet fox will sit with with transdev whom Mr Stockley will be joining shortly ??.
 

nesw

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Phil mentioned on The Public transport experience blog that he is no longer joining Transdev.
 

the101

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That said, FBB has every right to explore the various events and non-events of the Fox Group. Let's not forget that we've seen a claimed takeover of an existing business (Claribels - blamed on a disgruntled employee). We've seen KernowFox that was all systems go but then wasn't. We've had images posted that are photoshopped; no crime in that but often alluding to vehicles being prepared for service or new spheres of operation that simply aren't true.
I wouldn't be too sure of that. There is a CityFox-livered MAN for sale in the trade press at the moment, so they have had a bus, and painted it, although whether it ever did anything with CityFox remains to be seen.

I must agree that this outfit telling everyone what they are going to do before they have done it (and then not doing it) is not the best way to go about business, though.
 

nesw

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The Man/Wright Ecipse SF08RRO is being sold by Wheelers Travel. It is in Cityfox colours and logo but it could well have been rented to Cityfox.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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I wouldn't be too sure of that. There is a CityFox-livered MAN for sale in the trade press at the moment, so they have had a bus, and painted it, although whether it ever did anything with CityFox remains to be seen.

I must agree that this outfit telling everyone what they are going to do before they have done it (and then not doing it) is not the best way to go about business, though.

No, the MAN Meridian has been seen by my own eyes, purportedly on RRS but with just the driver and the aforementioned Mr Hand in attendance. Sadly, I was heading the opposite way on Temple Way in Bristol so wasn't able to check it out.

However, that and the two ex Diamond Darts are very much exceptions to that. There are plenty of other images that have been photoshopped. As I say, no crime in that.

Phil Stockley puts up an impassioned defence and there are some very valid points, not least regarding putting up the photo and home address. That is a step too far. Also, to be fair, he can only speak as he finds and he has explained that most eloquently. He has championed that we should embrace entrepreneurship - again, you can't argue against that.

However, that is to ignore all of the events and non-events of the past surrounding Fox Group that are of public record, not all of which can be considered benign.

I don't expect Phil, Rhys or anyone to place their business strategy to have it approved by some message board. However, having ticked the box marked "publicity", then not surprising that a certain amount of attention is given to the various announcements.
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Good to have some stuff back from Phil Stockley.

Still a lot of questions unanswered and you could be forgiven thinking "why should it bother a load of spotters" and that may well be correct.

Another perspective is that Fox have used social media and the web to set hares running and/or give a suggestion about current or future activities that have then be shown incorrect or haven't transpired and that doesn't just stop at the door of spotters.

Will be interesting to see how it pans out
 

nesw

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Rhys has had plenty of opportunities to make a go of things but unfortunately personality traits get in the way.

I'm not sure what Wellglade would make of Phil's relationship with Cityfox businesses?

It has been clear from Rhys's comments on social media this week that attitude is unchanged.
 

overthewater

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Have you got your Popcorn ready?
http://www.route-one.net/articles/People/Phil_Stockley_moves_to_CityFox_Group

The Bristol-based CityFox group has announced that Phil Stockley is to join as Executive Director.

He will oversee the group’s existing taxi operation in Bristol and Bath and other commercial growth and growth by acquisition, including into the bus sector.

Mr Stockley joins from The Wellglade Group, parent of a number of operators in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire including Trent Barton.

Earlier this year it was announced that Mr Stockley would join Transdev Blazefield as Marketing and Commercial Director (routeONE, News, 1 May), but this is no longer the case.

“The CityFox Group has a strong interest in entering the bus market in Bristol and plans to develop both our bus and taxi businesses there and elsewhere,” says Group Managing Director Rhys Hand.

“Phil will be involved with taxis, and he will assist the business in acquiring more taxi companies as well as bus operators,” says Mr Hand.

Mr Hand adds that at the moment, CityFox Bus runs shuttle services, and operated a route in Bristol on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. It also supplies drivers to other operators.
 

richw

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City fox when trying to launch as kernowfox had on the team the bloke (NS, mentioned in op link) who was behind Cornwall busways of st Austell. He'd had his O licence revoked due to issues with Cornwall busways, and they announced they wouldn't be continuing in Cornwall after his appeal was rejected regarding the revoked licence.
They had a few vehicles in Cornwall, all being non DDA single deckers, with an intended start date of October 2015, all those vehicles would have been useless 2 months later.
 
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1905 Group

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Following this thread with interest, one of the comments in the fbb article suggested that they thought TM Travel would become Velvet Fox, although I think it seems unlikely when Phil and Rhys have spent so long rebranding it all. Who knows?
 

TheGrandWazoo

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Following this thread with interest, one of the comments in the fbb article suggested that they thought TM Travel would become Velvet Fox, although I think it seems unlikely when Phil and Rhys have spent so long rebranding it all. Who knows?

The FBB page says "Bristol-based CityFox group has announced that Phil Stockley is to join as Executive Director.

He will oversee the group’s existing taxi operation in Bristol and Bath and other commercial growth and growth by acquisition, including into the bus sector. Mr Stockley joins from The Wellglade Group's T M Travel.

“The CityFox Group has a strong interest in entering the bus market in Bristol and plans to develop both our bus and taxi businesses there and elsewhere,” says Group Managing Director Rhys Hand. “Phil will be involved with taxis, and he will assist the business in acquiring more taxi companies as well as bus operators,” says Mr Hand."

It doesn't say anything about TM Travel becoming anything and that they are looking for opportunities in Bristol.
 

Robertj21a

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The FBB page says "Bristol-based CityFox group has announced that Phil Stockley is to join as Executive Director.

He will oversee the group’s existing taxi operation in Bristol and Bath and other commercial growth and growth by acquisition, including into the bus sector. Mr Stockley joins from The Wellglade Group's T M Travel.

“The CityFox Group has a strong interest in entering the bus market in Bristol and plans to develop both our bus and taxi businesses there and elsewhere,” says Group Managing Director Rhys Hand. “Phil will be involved with taxis, and he will assist the business in acquiring more taxi companies as well as bus operators,” says Mr Hand."

It doesn't say anything about TM Travel becoming anything and that they are looking for opportunities in Bristol.


Still seems an odd move for Phil.
 

fgwrich

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Popcorn at the ready. Finding any credible and valuable routes for for 'ever promising but never delivering' CityFox vs First West of England / BOS / Wessex Connect territory will be interesting and it's one I can't see lasting for long. Stockley may have exploted a market with Velvet in Eastleigh, but I can't see there being that much room within the confines of Bristol for another operator, let alone with one with the history of City/Kernow fox.
 

nesw

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They're running double decks to Bristol Pride on Saturday. First are the official provider.

I'm sure that's good business practise...
 
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