Stagecoach buys Norfolk Green

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The strength of the brand is underlined by the decision to retain Norfolk Green’s livery

Stagecoach Bus Holdings acquired Go West Travel Ltd trading as Norfolk Green last month, just after CBW’s last issue of the year went press and not long after the firm was named Independent Bus Operator of the Year at the UK Bus Awards.

Norfolk Green operates commercial, tendered and school services in northern East Anglia with a fleet of around 70 buses and employs more than 160 people. It has a leased depot and bus station facilities in King’s Lynn as well as a number of small out-stations. The livery and separate identity is being retained by Stagecoach, which already operates 360 vehicles with 950 staff in the east of England.

Robert Montgomery, Managing Director of Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “Norfolk Green is an award-winning, high-quality bus operator. The business is well-run and has been successful in attracting more people to the benefits of bus travel.

“The acquisition will allow us to expand our operations in the east of England, where we have achieved good passenger growth by focusing on good value fares, investing in our networks and delivering punctual and reliable services.

“Our people are central to our growth plans and we are delighted to welcome our new employers to the business.”

Norfolk Green, which was bought by the previous owners 17 years ago with three coaches, had become available for purchase due to the retirement following ill health of main shareholder, Ben Colson. It took over the King’s Lynn-based services of First East England in April 2011 and is now being managed separately by Gary Nolan, Regional Director North, Stagecoach UK Bus.

Ben Colson said: “We have built a strong brand in the area with a larger network of bus routes than was here in 1996, attracting new customers to using the bus and increased employment. The company goes forward into new hands in good shape, and will benefit from being owned by a major transport company.”