Carmel takes over North Somerset Coaches
Devon operator, Carmel Coaches Ltd, has taken over Nailsea based North Somerset Coaches. The acquired company’s bus service work was passed onto Abus of Bristol on 11 November 2013. Carmel has taken on the remaining coach side, which consists of two vehicles and two staff operating from the existing base at Nailsea. Carolyn Alderton, daughter of Tony Hazell, the founder of Carmel Coaches, will take charge of the new operation, which is to be rebranded Carmel Bristol. The vehicles, staff and premises will be taken on, along with the X5 school service, day trip programme and private hire work. This latest development comes as Carmel reaches its 30th year of trading. It now serves west Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Exeter, as well as the Bristol area. The company claims it will ‘strive to maintain the high standards’ attained by David Fricker, former owner of North Somerset Coaches, who has now joined the rail industry.
Carmel Coaches was started in 1984 by Tony Hazell, starting in Northlew near Okehampton, Devon, having purchased the business from Pop Gay. In 2001, the company made its first acquisition, taking on Crockernwell Motor Company. It expanded again in 2004 by purchasing four coaches and three contracts from Blue Line Coaches. It later developed Carmel Exeter, a separate fleet, after purchasing Tedburn Coaches. In 2010, it signed contracts with National Express, FirstGroup, Just Go! Holidays and Majestic Tours to run services for them. The following year it won an eight year contract to run a Park & Ride service for Devon County Council. Its fleet currently stands at 53 vehicles, branded as either Carmel Devon, Carmel Exeter or Carmel Plymouth.
A statement from the company said, ‘We look forward to continuing the hard work that Dave Fricker has put in to the business the last seven years, and driving our business forward with further opportunities that exist in Bristol and surrounding areas.’
North Somerset Coaches was founded in 1969, initially with a white and black livery, which changed to cream with orange and brown stripes in the mid-70s, then to white and red in the 90s.