Greater Manchester coach and bus operator Belle Vue has completed a deal which has created 20 jobs at the company and will add £1m to its revenues in a regular year.
The Stockport-based firm has taken over 17 school transport contracts previously operated by Selwyns Travel of Runcorn. The Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) contracts involve schools mainly in the Trafford and Stockport areas. As well as taking pupils to and from school, Belle Vue will also provide transport for educational day trips.
Belle Vue says it expects the new services to add almost 450,000 passenger journeys to its current total. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Phil Hitchen, Managing Director of Belle Vue, said that the company continues to seek similar strategic deals to further strengthen its core business.
Belle Vue has added 22 vehicles to its fleet to operate the new contracts. Fifteen of the additional vehicles are Volvo Wright Gemini buses acquired from Selwyns. The other seven are Scania OmniCitys acquired from Essex-based Ensignbus. The increase in staff takes Belle Vue’s employee numbers to 100.
Phil said: “Although this is an immensely challenging period, we continue to operate school services for the children of key workers and contracts to take NHS staff to and from their workplace. The sector’s landscape is changing and we have an appetite for further strategic acquisitions from operators thinking of leaving the industry to strengthen our market share. With clean air zones, new regulations affecting the sector and now a downturn in trade, operators may be looking for an exit and we can offer a solution.”
Despite a general shortage of drivers, Phil said Belle Vue had been able to recruit successfully due to its strong team-working ethos: “We have a great team ethic across the whole organisation, which makes Belle Vue an attractive and enjoyable place to work,” he said.
The company was shortlisted for top large operator in the UK Coach Awards, amongst many other nominations such as; industry professional and UK Coach Driver. However, due to the ongoing situation, the 2020 awards have been postponed and will now take place in 2021.