JG Explorer launches

JG Travel’s premium coach brand launches with the first two operators receiving their specially liveried luxury coaches

A new premium brand of coach travel is being launched by JG Travel Group. The first two coaches in the JG Explorer livery have now been handed over to their operator partners, Hunters Coaches of Leeds and Llandudno-based Alpine Travel, at Scania’s Worksop PDI centre.

The Scania-based Irizar i6S Efficient coaches are two of a total of five due to enter service, with Crosskeys Coaches of Folkestone, Prospect Coaches of Stourbridge and Taylors Coaches of Somerset due to receive the other three next week. All five will depart on their maiden tours for the JG Travel Group on 25 May, two to Ireland and three on UK seaside resort breaks.

Paul Mason, operations director at JG Travel Group, said: “After almost 18 months, through concept, design, partnerships and build, it is so exciting that we have finally arrived at the point of delivery for our JG Explorer coaches. I can’t wait to see them hit the road and begin welcoming our customers onboard.”

Each Scania Irizar I6S efficient, Super-Hi 13.2m Tri-Axle coach has a range of high-end features, including 44 seats trimmed in moquette with real leather trimming, providing extra legroom for passengers. They have pull-down seat tables and USB charging points.

The specification also includes a kitchen with onboard Nespresso coffee machine and a unique, fresh filtered cold water tap which customers can use to fill complimentary JG Explorer branded water bottles.

Paul said the vehicles are intended to provide a premium travel experience, while the destinations and hotels they serve will be standard fare on JG Travel tours. Each vehicle is adorned with a new JG Travel Group livery, featuring its two main brands Just Go! Holiday and National Holidays who will both operate various holidays using the JG Explorer coaches. They will be recognisable by the inclusion of the ‘Get out more in Life’ slogan and familiar full-height yellow circle on the sides.

All five of the operators the vehicles will be heading for are existing operator partners with JG Travel Group.

Paul said: “We’ve been talking about this since before the pandemic. It wasn’t until the start of 2023 that we started to talk to operators about it.”

Thew introduction of the premium coaches was discussed at customer focus groups, who all indicated more comfort and legroom were desires, as was good access to the onboard toilets (a reason behind the floor level positioning of the toilet to the rear of the coach). Onboard entertainment and wifi were also identified as desires.

These suggestions in specification for the premium coaches were then sounded with JG Travel’s operator partners. Paul said: “We went for full-leather seats at the start but when we took that to operators, they said that it was not a good idea considering the vehicle’s afterlife. We got a lot of soundings from our operators.”

In the end, only the front four passenger seats were trimmed in leather and are sold at a premium price.

The coaches have an onboard entertainment system supplied by Azimut of Spain, which delivers a large selection of movies, music and games as well as links to JG brochures and special offers. Paul notes the entertainment is downloaded onto the system, meaning it does not rely on the wifi quality to stream the content. Complimentary wifi onboard completes the offering.

The coach is longer 13.2m coach is longer than JG Travel’s usual standard, which is 12.9m with 53 seats.

“Irizar were on the top of our list to start with” – Paul Mason, operations director at JG Travel Group

Paul explains the choice of the Scania/Irizar combination: “Irizar were on the top of our list to start with. We looked at the integral options for Irizar and we looked at other suppliers. Once we had seen this body, we were keen to do it with Irizar. And the suppliers we were working with liked the Scania-based version.”

He also praised the back-up and warranty as factors behind the decision.

The coaches are on a five-year contract to operate under the JG Explorer brand, with an option to extend this three years and put extra seats in and change the livery to the standard brand.

Paul said: “Sales have been strong since we announced our new JG Explorer coach concept in the autumn last year and the first few months of tours operating on these new vehicles are sold out. Overall, our Irish tours and longer duration European itineraries are proving particularly popular, as you would expect. Our 29-day, long-stay winter sun tours to Benidorm on the new vehicles are also selling extremely well, with many customers opting for this enhanced option on these tours.

“However, it is also an important part of the JG Explorer strategy for us to ensure we offer customers travelling on our UK tours the opportunity to experience travelling with a little added luxury, and again we are seeing strong take up for these UK tours.

“Having now been able to see these coaches in all their glory, I’m delighted by how amazing they are and it is quite likely more will be added in years to come. We want to ensure we have a full season of operational feedback initially, but if first impressions are anything to go by, our customers looking for that extra level of comfort are going to just love these vehicles.”

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