UK Coach Operator of the Year

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The winners of the Coach Operator Awards deliver consistently excellent customer service. The operators demonstrate their success through sustained effort.

They have shown that they:

  • are financially sound
  • maintain high operational and engineering standards
  • give priority to the Health and Safety of staff and passengers through comprehensive risk management
  • invest in their fleet and staff
  • form effective partnerships
  • identify with and respond to the communities they serve
  • always strive to sustain and grow the market for coaches and coach services.

From the winners of the three awards for different fleet sizes, the judges chose an overall winner, named UK Coach Operator of the Year.

For each of the categories, customer nominations were sought from group organisers and other industry clients. Nominated operators are also  invited to submit further information to the judges. The judging process also includes 'mystery shopping' of the nominated operators to test their commitment to customer service.

Who could be nominated?

The awards are open to all operators of coaches for hire to the general public or used on tours and excurions.

... and by whom?

Group organisers and other clients who hire coaches on an occasional or regular basis were asked to nominate the coach company which has delivered the best service to their groups.

Winners: The Kings Ferry, Gillingham, Kent

A Kings Ferry coach at Leeds Castle in KentThe Kings Ferry was founded by Peter O’Neill in 1968, and he ran the business with his family until 2007, when it was sold to current owners National Express Group. The emphasis is on high quality service and vehicles for both its high-profile commuter services and its extensive charter work. In this market, The Kings Ferry is a leading supplier of VIP coaches to football and other sporting teams. The Kings Ferry runs a fleet of 68 coaches ranging in size from 12 seater ‘land yachts’ to 77 seat double deckers.

The judges were really impressed by the company’s quality, marketing and strong image.

Further information from

The Runners Up: Excelsior Coaches, Bournemouth, Dorset

Some of Excelsior's modern fleetExcelsior have achieved status as winners, runners up or highly commended in all four years of the UK Coach Awards in their present form, and they only just missed out on this year's top prize.

With 85 years of experience, Excelsior Coaches claims to provide the most modern air-conditioned fleet in the region and has been awarded CPT's prestigious Coach Marque quality award.

The growing modern fleet of 38 vehicles has increased 30% in the last 2 years, the oldest vehicle being five years old and the firm now employs 85 full time and part time staff. The business has migrated from seasonally-dependent work to long-term corporate contracts – less retail, more business-to-business.

Excelsior is widely known for its quality and this includes its operations for National Express, which has presented the firm with a number of awards in recent years. The judges noted that Excelsior is seen by its clients as more than just a coach operator - in the corporate market it provides not just coach hire to its customers but a total end-to-end solution covering all aspects of transport related services.

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