Brighton Horizon Coaches launched
New operation forms as The Big Lemon ties up with Seaford and District
Brighton’s environmentally-friendly operator, The Big Lemon, has joined forces with another local bus operator, Seaford & District, to create an international coach operator called Brighton Horizon Coaches. The new brand was launched at a ceremony at the Peace Statue on Brighton & Hove’s seafront.
Over the next few weeks all the existing Big Lemon and Seaford & District coaches will be re-branded as Brighton Horizon Coaches and the two teams will work as one from 1 September 2020. The new operation ties together both of the operator’s coaches, creating an 11-strong fleet (see fleet list below). Five drivers from Seaford and District will join Brighton Horizon Coaches.
The deal to take on the coaches was made after David Mulpeter, proprietor of Seaford & District, decided to scale his operations back to concentrate on operating local service buses and heritage vehicles.
Brighton Horizon Coaches will continue to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Big Lemon. However it will operate with a considerable amount of autonomy in order to take opportunities that come along. MD of The Big Lemon, Tom Druitt, said it will enable him to focus more of his time on developing the bus side of his business, accelerating its transition to zero-emission electric-buses powered by renewable energy.
The Big Lemon’s first foray into the coach industry happened by chance in 2008, when a customer asked to hire one of its buses for a day trip to London. The operator was soon running regular trips and later that year bought a coach to dedicate to private hire full-time. Since then the coach fleet has grown to seven vehicles used on education services, private coach hire, festival coaches, day trips, sports fixtures, airport transfers and rail replacement. The tie-up with Seaford & District is thought to make the new company Brighton & Hove’s largest coach operator with a fleet of 11 coaches; four of which are fully wheelchair-accessible.
The Big Lemon and Seaford & District have worked together for a number of years. In a message on his company’s website, Tom Druitt said: “We share many of the same values and at the end of the day both of us have always been 100% focused on our customers and providing them with the best possible experience.
“Seaford & District is run by real transport enthusiasts who care deeply about the quality of their work and I’m delighted that we have been able to work with them to create a new coach company that brings together the best of what we have to offer, with a combination of quality and innovation that’s truly unique in the local coach market.
“On a personal note, I’m incredibly proud of our Coach Manager Ryan Wrotny who joined us as a 13 year old boy having saved up his pocket money to buy a share in the company. He has worked hard ever since that day, first of all helping me wash buses and run the office, then training as a bus driver and driving our 52 bus for two years; and finally passing his Transport Managers’ Certificate of Professional Competence in International Passenger Transport and taking on the operation of our coach services.”
On what future he sees for coach operations, Ryan Wrotney told bus and Coach Buyer: “Both The Big Lemon and Seaford & District operate private hire and contracts. Early indications are already very positives with confirmed bookings for trips already in the diary for later this month and into the winter. We also now have four PSVAR compliant coaches together with our Volvo bus also PSVAR that can operate compliant rail replacement well into the future when the current exemption expires at the end of this year.”
Fleet list – Brighton Horizon Coaches
2 X Neoplan Tourliners
4 X Volvo B9R Caetano Levantes (PSVAR compliant)
1 X DAF SB4000 Vanhool Alizee
1 X Volvo B10M Jonckheere Mistral
1 X Volvo B7RLE Wright Eclipse Bus (PSVAR compliant)
2 X Mercedes Benz Plaxton Cheetahs