National Express expanding into coach hire

National Express has announced a new coach hire business.

National Express Transport Solutions will bring together two existing National Express businesses of The Kings Ferry and Lucketts into a single business division to deliver this. A phased approach is planned, which will initially focus on private hire bookings for one-off events or occasions, as well as for commercial contracts, such as employee and university shuttle services, sports teams and supporters clubs. The business will then expand its offering of VIP transport with its luxury vehicle fleet, as well as coach holidays including day trips and accommodation packages.

National Express Transport Solutions will operate via a UK-wide regional infrastructure utilising both its own fleets and depots as well as existing and new partner operators, supported by common central functions.

Commenting on the new business, Tom Stables, National Express Managing Director, UK and Germany, said: “The current UK coach market is fragmented with lots of local offerings from often small, independent family run businesses.

“The Kings Ferry and Lucketts already have a significant presence in the corporate travel sector. By forming National Express Transport Solutions, we can leverage their joint capabilities with National Express’ strength as a recognised and trusted brand to deliver a consistent high quality UK-wide product.”

The business will retain its existing local brands but will operate under the National Express name for all of its national sales and marketing activity.

Tony Lawman of Lucketts Group will become Managing Director while The Kings Ferry’s Ian Fraser will take on the role of Chief Operating Officer. Existing Lucketts and The Kings Ferry teams will form the South and South East regional hubs, led by Murray Carter and Chris Burley as respective regional directors.

Tony Lawman said: “We have the operational experience and expertise alongside the skills to offer a high standard customer service. There is a real opportunity to provide a product that stands apart from the rest of the market and delivers what today’s customers are looking for.

“We have ambitious plans to build on the work we already do in these areas, initially concentrating on the opportunities for shuttle services and private hire whilst expanding our offering in the tourism sector.

“We are already speaking with our existing partner operators and starting conversations with potential new partners regarding our future plans.”

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