Thomas Hardie hosts ride & drive event

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Operators attended from across the North West of England and North Wales. LESLEY BAIN
Operators attended from across the North West of England and North Wales. LESLEY BAIN

A coach and bus ride and drive event organised by Volvo North West of England dealership Thomas Hardie has been praised for its informal but useful approach.

Representatives of the Volvo Bus & Coach Sales were present at the event, which took place at Trafford Park depot on Wednesday (August 20).

Vehicles present included a Euro 6 Jonckheere-bodied Volvo B11R, a Plaxton Leopard-bodied Volvo B8R and a Euro 5 Wrightbus Gemini-bodied Volvo B9TL – the B5L being on trial elsewhere. Two second-hand coaches were also present – a former Lochs & Glens tri-axle Jonckheere-bodied B12B and a Sunsundegui-bodied Volvo B7R.

Andrew Mageer, Group Bus & Coach Development Manager at Thomas Hardie Commercials told CBW: “We had 40 customers. The weather was kind – we only had a few spots of rain.

“Customers had the opportunity to ride and drive every vehicles. They drove them on a pre-determiend route. Operators came from across our area, which covers Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire, Shropshire and North Wales.”

Refreshments on offer included a a hog roast. “It’s always a good crowd-puller. It helps with the social nature of the event,” explained Andrew.

Among the operators who enjoyed themselves was Neal Hall of Ellesmere-based Lakeside Coaches. He told CBW: “It was an excellent day. I took two of my sons with me, along with John Davies. The atmosphere was nice, friendly and informal. We enjoyed taking the vehicles out. It was a great way to maintain relationships. It was also a prime opportunity to catch up with other operators, including Keith Davies from Pats of Wrexham, Mark Carver from Carvers of Ellesmere Port and Chris Owens from Alpine Travel.”

Neil added: “We always find the team at Thomas Hardie to be very friendly and easy to deal with.”

Andrew concluded: “As a Volvo dealer, we don’t sell vehicles directly but we are there to deliver the after-market service and support. With that in mind, we promoted the fact we have our own bodyshop and that the majority of our sites are Authorised Testing Facilities with high first-time pass rates.

“We try to organise open days on an annual basis. We hope to hold one early next year.”