It’s an ill wind…

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Pound for pound, NK’s first coach, seen here in Torquay, was a bargain. ALAN PAYLING When he was in Torquay recently, Alan Payling met up with Steve Mason, founder of NK Holidays, who, having opened a coach holiday company during a global pandemic, has ended up sitting pretty in Sittingbourne while his passengers love to be tortured in Torquay

The Covid pandemic was a tragedy for so many people. In the coach holiday trade, it was a turning point for operators large and small as they shut up shop. But, for some coaching people, they saw opportunities. After all, while there might be fewer coach operators, post-pandemic, they felt that there would still be a demand for coach holidays. One such person was Steve Mason from Kent who has worked in the industry as a driver and manager for over 40 years. He started on Green Line coaches running from Dunton Green on the Tunbridge Wells to London route. Steve also covered duplication work to Torquay.

He then progressed into management with National Express as a night controller and later worked for Metrobus when it had a coach division. He then spent time with London Coaches. More recently, he worked as Traffic Manager, also covering many tours behind the wheel, driving for 12 years with Jay & Kay Coach Tours in south east London. While working for Jay & Kay, he had mentioned to the owner that he thought Sittingbourne in Kent would be a good place to operate from. While Steve’s idea was ignored, he didn’t forget it because he was sure Sittingbourne did have a lot of potential for an enterprising coach operator. With 46.42% of the town’s population of 54,392 people aged over 50, it was ideal territory to sell coach holidays.

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