Gloucester-based Bennetts Coaches has gained planning permission to build a new depot. The plans include razing some buildings to make way for the new site in Eastern Avenue, Gloucester.
MD, Gavin Bennett, took over the running of his business from father Peter in September 2017. Gavin said: “We took the decision to plan a new depot to expand. We are having to turn work away because we can’t operate more vehicles from our site.”
The construction of the new depot is expected to happen in the next three years. The company has a fleet of 33 vehicles, which could be increased to 40 with the new building.
Gavin said: “When we started talking about a new depot, we discussed whether we could have a new one built, buy some land. But people want coaches outside of the town. I think that’s a bit of a shame.”
The increase in vehicles would mean a requirement for more staff. Gavin said recruiting more drivers should not be a problem, saying: “We have a waiting list of drivers to come onboard with us. We pay well. We have some of the best paid drivers in the area. We always strive to pay our drivers well.”
Gavin reports receiving increasing amounts of work, with an expanding customer base. Bennetts has had some high-profile work recently, including working in partnership with Cotswold Vehicle Deliveries to be the transport provider of staff to the Royal Wedding in Windsor in May. Gavin said: “I had to organise 42 coaches for that event. It got me in touch with operators from all across the country to organise it. We also were involved in transport for Donald Trump’s visit. We had to get coaches organised for Chequers and the destinations they went to during the visit.”
Explaining how he has achieved such success to be able to expand, Gavin said: “We always do a very good job. We have never phoned up a customer and said we can’t cover the job anymore or let the customer down. We offer a clean, tidy vehicle. We consistently run in the top two of National Express and we have won quite a few awards with National Express. We are also at the top of National Express’s breakdown charts. We have good staff here that keep the vehicles on the road. Generally, we pick up work from word of mouth.
“I can see there being more growth in the area. Stagecoach holds the monopoly in bus services in the area, but we would like to run some buses too. But that’s more of a future plan. National Express is looking to expand in the area as well. At the moment, they have 12 departures, but are looking to expand to 14.”
Key facts – Bennetts Coaches
Family-owned operator, Bennetts Coaches, provides luxury coach hire in Gloucestershire and the surrounding areas using a 33-strong fleet. The operator also provides school transport as well as private hire for school trips, weddings, days out and corporate events. It also operates National Express and Park & Ride services.
A common vehicle in its fleet is the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo, of which there are 11. For use on National Express work, it has Volvo-based Caetano Levantes; although Gavin Bennett said there is a possibility of switching over to the Scania chassis for this work. Other models include Citaros, a Sprinter and a Touro.