Top Large Fleet Operator
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 businesses with fleets of 15 vehicles or fewer and between 16 and 50 vehicles.
From the winners of these three awards, 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.
Winner, Gold Award: Edwards Coaches
Edwards Coaches is Wales' largest privately-owned coach company, with 90 years experience in the industry. Currently operating a fleet of over 260 vehicles and employing 450 people throughout South Wales, Edwards is the proud supplier to the Welsh Rugby Union and Welsh Football Association. The business covers all aspects of coach transport, offering customised package holidays, day trips, private coach hire, group and educational tours, ocean cruises, river cruising and flight tours.
Edwards have developed to become a predominant coach and tour operator in South Wales area. The judges felt that the sheer energy shown by the company in effectively managing an increasingly large portfolio of work deserved this recognition. Re investment in the fleet and even a diversification to owning a hotel demonstrates a willingness to invest in and develop the business to meet the future. It serves its local community with enthusiasm and quality. Since the judging, they have also been listed in the Sunday Times's list of the 'most profitable private companies' showing that not only can they deliver, but they can do it profitably as well.
Winner, Silver Award: The Kings Ferry
Originally a family business dating back to 1968, the company was aquired by National Express in 2007. Since then revenue has increased by 61% and profitability by 81%. An onboard customer survey in June 2014 by LSTF reported that 100% of respondents were 'satisfied' or 'very satisfied' with the service.
The judges were once more impressed by the company's pursuit of excellence in all areas of activity and the success that this has brought, especially with the new operation in the west of England.
Winner, Bronze Award: Johnsons Coach & Bus Travel
Established for over 105 years, Johnsons Coach & Bus Travel is an award winning, friendly, family-run business. It specialising in top quality escorted door to door holidays and day trips as well as private coach hire and tailor-made tours for groups, as well as running several local bus services.
The judges were once again struck by the range of products in the Johnsons portfolio, and by the emphasis on training and support for staff, as well as some excellent marketing and promotional activity. The company continues to be driven by the enthusiasm and energy of its owners, which is both immediately evident and very impressive.
Finalist: National Express
National Express is well known as the largest network of express coach services between town and cities across England and Wales, with stops at parkway sites and university campuses as well as city centre locations. The company also runs an every expanding range of event services; almost a quarter of visitors to Galstonbury in 2014 travelled on a special National Express 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 excursions.
... 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. Self-nomination was also acceptable.