Go-Ahead buys Pulhams
Go-Ahead Group has bought Pulham & Sons (Coaches) Limited, a long-established family run bus and coach operator in the Cotswolds.
The two operators have been in discussions about a possible takeover since October 2022.
The Pulham’s livery, brand identity and staff are due to remain unchanged.
Pulhams, which has a fleet of 90 buses and coaches and employs 126 people, serves Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. It will become part of Go-Ahead’s Oxford Bus Company division, which presently comprises Thames Travel, Carousel Buses and City Sightseeing Oxford as well as the eponymous Oxford Bus Company.
Based in Bourton-on-the-Water, Pulhams has won multiple awards for delivering high standards, and currently holds both DVSA Earned Recognition and Guild of British Coach Operators accreditation. The company is one of the oldest established passenger transport companies in Britain, having been founded in 1880 to carry passengers into Cheltenham from nearby villages by horse and cart.
The acquisition will expand Go-Ahead’s Oxford business to the west and should see improved connectivity between Pulhams’ bus services in Oxfordshire and the wider Go-Ahead network of services. In addition, it will enable Go-Ahead to expand its coaching operations, which in the Oxford division already include the airline services to Heathrow and Gatwick, and National Express branded operations by developing the coach hire side of the Pulhams business across the wider business operating area.
The deal is Go-Ahead’s third acquisition in a year, following the purchase of Dartline in Devon and Southdown Buses in West Sussex.
“The business links nicely with our existing services in Oxfordshire and surrounding counties” – Luke Marion, Managing Director of the Oxford Bus Company
Luke Marion, Managing Director of the Oxford Bus Company, said: “Pulhams’ buses and coaches are familiar and well loved in communities throughout the Cotswolds. The business links nicely with our existing services in Oxfordshire and surrounding counties, and helps us to diversify our business further into new market segments. We’ll be investing in developing the Pulhams business further, for the benefit of both customers and colleagues.”
“Go-Ahead’s commitment to invest in the Pulhams’ business as we look towards decarbonisation of our fleets is welcome and I look forward to learning from the Group’s experience in this area” – Andrew Pulham, Managing Director of Pulhams Coaches
Andrew Pulham, Managing Director of Pulhams Coaches, said: “I am excited to work with Luke and the wider Go-Ahead team in developing new business opportunities and enhancing those that we already have in place. Go-Ahead’s commitment to invest in the Pulhams’ business as we look towards decarbonisation of our fleets is welcome and I look forward to learning from the Group’s experience in this area. Kathryn and I remain committed to Pulhams and look forward to this next chapter in our well-established, successful business.”
“We’re delighted to welcome Pulhams into the group” – Christian Schreyer, Group Chief Executive, The Go-Ahead Group
Christian Schreyer, Group Chief Executive, The Go-Ahead Group, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Pulhams into the group. At Go-Ahead, we see many opportunities to expand in Britain’s bus industry as the country moves towards a net zero future in which people leave their cars at home in favour of public transport.”
- B&CB has even more insight into the deal with an interview with Andy Pulham in the latest edition of the magazine (16 June 2023, 1654), which can be viewed tomorrow (14 June 2023) here