Coach Operator of the Year (Large Fleets)

The winners of these 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.

As well as this award for the larger operators (with fleets of over 51 vehicles), there are two others for buisinesses with fleets of 10 vehicles or fewer and between 11 and 50 vehicles.

From the winners of these three awards, the judges chose an overall winner, named Belmont International 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.

The Winners: Johnsons Coach and Bus Travel, Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire

Three of the vehicles in Johnsons' stylish fleetJohnsons Coach Travel is very much a traditional family business and indeed celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. The company has been run by third generation family members, Peter and John Johnson for 30 years. During this time the company has increased from 5 coaches and a removal lorry - to what it is today, with 40 coaches, 30 buses and 10 'door to door' feeder minibuses,

The company now employs over 200 staff and is extreemly well established, with an excellent trading record, a strong balance sheet, a first class reputation with its customers and modern and spacious freehold premises close to the M40/M42.

Customers and judges alike praised their knowledge and helpfulness and they scored highly across all the criteria.

For more information, visit

Runners Up: Bowen Coaches, Tamworth, Staffordshire

A Bowens vehicle tours LondonThe Bowen Travel Group is a modern successful company with a unique heritage spanning over 90 years, employing over 300 people throughout the group. We own and operate a varied fleet of over 130 luxury coaches to suit all group sizes.

The company is one of the UK’s leading holiday companies specialising in coach holidays, offering holidays throughout Europe and Britain and operating retail travel agencies across the Midlands.  

Details can be fiound at

Highly Commended

The following operators were highly commended by the judges.

Burtons Coaches, Haverhill, Suffolk

One of the vehicles in the Burtons Coaches fleetBurtons Coaches was established in 1948 and operates a large fleet of buses and coaches which cover a diverse range of services including local bus, contract and UK & European coach hire operations.Until recently the company was part of the Tellings Golden Miller Group but in January 2010 was sucessfully purchased by Paul Cooper, Managing Director and his wife, Tracy Atkinson-Cooper.

The company is a member of the Guild of British Coach Operators an holds the Coachmarque accreditiation. The company operates a fully air conditioned fleet. Flagships in its frontline fleet include four new Scania Irizar PB coaches, two of which are 14 metre tri-axles. One is operated in a 53 seat Star Class configuration affording extra legroom, extended seat recline and air conditioned climate controlled comfort. The company also operates air conditioned mini coaches, midi coaches, a 36 seat air conditioned executive and a 49 seat wheelchair lift equipped vehicle, alongside low floor and double deck buses. 

For more information, visit

Shearings, Wigan, Lancashire

Part of Shearings' large fleet on displayShearings Group is one of the UK’s leading independent holiday companies, perhaps best known for coach-based tours.

The group’s roots can be traced back to 1903 when Smiths Happiways was established in Wigan. The business has almost 300 modern fully-equipped coaches driven by the best drivers in the business, 49 good-quality leisure hotels and over 3,000 committed, loyal staff.

More information can be found at 

Also nominated were Johnson Brothers, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, but they did not respond to our request for further information.

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