Travellers Choice buys Battersby Silver Grey

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Name to be retained as 18 vehicles acquired as part of deal

Travellers Choice is due to acquire Morecambe-based Battersby Silver Grey from – it has now been confirmed.

As this issue went to press on Monday, John Shaw, Managing Director of The Travellers Choice told CBW everything was set to go through tomorrow (Tuesday, January 26). Clarifying industry speculation, he said Battersby Silver Grey will enter administration briefly, from which it will then be acquired by Travellers Choice.

He added: “We’re going to run is as Battersby Silver Grey. It’s a good respected name in the area and I didn’t want to diminish that.

“The remaining members of staff are due to join us and we’ve also acquired 18 vehicles. Battersby Silver Grey used to run 30 vehicles but it’s now slimmed down into a more manageable size.

“A lot of vehicles have gone to Close Asset Finance. We’ve acquired the modern end of the private hire fleet, comprising 10, 11 and 13-plate coaches. We will be continuing with the mixture of work – contracts, local private hire and tour work.

“Agreement reached to lease the depot for a number of years. It’s got good workshop facilities.”

The news will see The Travellers Choice remain one of the largest coach operators in the north west of England. It operates 90 vehicles, almost of all of which are coaches – there being just three buses. In addition to a modern headquarters and depot at Carnforth, the firm  has a smaller depot at Barrow-in-Furness.

The Battersby deal marks the latest investment by The Travellers Choice – coming hot on the heels of a deal for a dozen new Jonckheere-bodied coaches from Volvo in time for the new season. The order comprises eight 57-seater, 13.4m B13Rs, two slightly larger 65-seater, 14m vehicles and two 48-seater, 13-m B11Rs.

John enthused: “Dealing with Volvo Bus is always a very good experience. We have had some excellent fuel results on the B11Rs that we already have in operation and we decided to add two more. Reliability is obviously a huge factor for us. We need our vehicles on the road and earning money and by specifying Volvo Bus we have every confidence that this will be the case. The trust we have in their product is clear – therefore we have 12 vehicles in total on order from Volvo Bus.”

The vehicles are set to be delivered in March and April and form part of the operator’s planned fleet replacement programme and will be used on tour work. John said some of the vehicles they are replacing have been  part-exchanged, while others have been sold.

In a separate development, two former Battersby Silver Grey 13m Plaxton Paragon-bodied Volvo B12Ms have been acquired by Skelton Coaches of Guisborough, Cleveland. ‘YN07OPL’ and ‘YN07OPE’ have become numbers 9 and 10 in the fleet.