Buoyant bus and coach hire firm Belle Vue Manchester has taken its investment in new vehicles to more than £1m over the past 12 months to meet surging demand as it heads for a record year.
The Stockport-based operator has taken delivery of a 76-seater Mercedes-Benz Tourismo coach and will shortly add a 53-seater MAN Neoplan Tourliner executive coach to its fleet for UK and European travel.
Those vehicles follow the arrival of two 61-seater Neoplan Tourliners in April.
Since July last year, Belle Vue has also added a 34-seater Yutong TC9 midi-coach, a 19-seater Mercedes-Benz Sprinter executive minibus and a 1966 London Routemaster vintage double-decker with 77 seats, which is used for weddings and other celebratory events and corporate hospitality trips.
In September, Belle Vue will take delivery of a 55-seater Neoplan Tourliner and two new double-decker school buses. Six more Neoplan Tourliner coaches are on order for delivery next March.
Ian Olsen, Belle Vue’s director of operations, said: “We are pleased to extend our fleet expansion programme with MAN as the business goes from strength to strength.”
Belle Vue managing director Phil Hitchen said the company had a record month in June, boosted by strong growth in corporate travel, day trips, airport transfers and an influx of bookings to take football fans to the FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Manchester United, as well as the launch of a series of new contracts.
He said July is looking even more buoyant, with the 2023 Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club a key factor as Belle Vue gears up to transport a host of international spectators and TV crews to the Hoylake course.
Annual turnover is now on track to top £5m for the first time in Belle Vue’s history and Phil said the company is looking to double in size over the next couple of years.
The new tri-axle Neoplan Tourliner coaches are equipped with MAN’s OptiView digital system, with cameras instead of driver’s mirrors, along with a lift for wheelchair access, a toilet, a drinks machine, USB charging stations, and buttons enabling passengers to contact the driver. All of the new vehicles in the Belle Vue fleet comply with Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations (PSVAR).
Phil said: “The additions to our modern fleet feature the latest technology for enhanced driver and passenger comfort, and they have strong green credentials with lower emissions meeting Euro 6 standards and an improved miles-per-gallon performance.
“They represent a significant investment which reflects the strong growth we are seeing across the business.
“This results from a number of new contracts, including educational and corporate ones, as well as several new Manchester City supporters’ clubs wishing to utilise our varied fleet for travel to and from matches.
“Demand has also grown considerably for corporate outings to race meetings and other events, day trips throughout the UK and airport transfers, as overseas travel has recovered from the pandemic and the private hire and hospitality markets have rebounded.
“The investment in our fleet alongside driver training to enhance the customer experience enables us to meet this surge in demand for our services, and we are looking forward to further growth in the coming months and years amid a buoyant market for coach and bus travel.” Earlier this year, Belle Vue teamed up with fast-growing coach network FlixBus to launch daily services between Manchester and towns and cities across the north, including Leeds and Newcastle upon Tyne.