Go-Coach
A Go-Coach Optare Solo in Tunbridge Wells Town Centre in November 2013
Founded2008
HeadquartersOtford
Service areaKent
East Sussex
South London
Service typeBus services
Routes51
HubsSevenoaks, Swanley, Dartford, Edenbridge, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells
FleetApprox 60 (December 2020)
Chief executiveAustin Blackburn
Websitewww.go-coach.co.uk

Go-Coachhire Ltd[1] is a bus operator running a total of 51 bus services (including school services) across Kent and Sussex. The majority of these services are operated on behalf of Kent County Council from depots in Otford and Swanley.

History

A Go-Coach Marshall Capital bodied Dennis Dart at Westerham in March 2013
A Go-Coach Marshall Capital bodied Dennis Dart at Westerham in March 2013

Go-Coach was founded in 2008 by Austin Blackburn. The company began operating as a coach hire company initially just using a single coach.[2]

In April 2010, Go-Coach began operating bus services for the first time when they took over the Kent County Council tendered routes 401 (Sevenoaks to Westerham) and 421 (Sevenoaks to Swanley) from Arriva Southern Counties.[2] In May 2011, Go Coach extended route 421 to Dartford to replace the Arriva Southern Counties route 423 bringing the operator into the town for the first time.[3] The companies Dartford services were further boosted with the instruction of the Dart local town services in 2014.[4]

In April 2014, Go-Coach expanded its operations into Edenbridge by taking over routes 232, 234, 238, 631 and 632 from Arriva Southern Counties.[5] A number of its Sevenoaks services were altered at the same time.

In 2015, a number of Go-Coach services were boosted. The company took over a number of Kent County Council contracted services as well as introducing new circular town service 8 in Sevenoaks at the same time.[6] Go-Coach also upgraded and took over existing route 401 on a commercial basis in 2015, this being the first time that the company had operated a bus service in this way.[7]

In July 2017, Go-Coach introduced two new routes in Sevenoaks (routes 431 and 435) in response to Arriva Southern Counties withdrawing major parts of their route 402 service at the same time.[8]

In April 2019, Arriva Southern Counties withdrew a number of their local services in Sevenoaks.[9] Go Coach introduced a number of replacement services and at the same time became the network operator of the town.

In December 2020, Go-Coach launched the new E1 circular bus service in Edenbridge giving the town a dedicated local service for the first time.[10]

On 23 August 2021, Go-Coach introduced the 24-hour Fastrack branded AZ service between Dartford and Gravesend, serving the new Amazon LCY3 distribution centre in Dartford.[11][12]

Garages and Services

Go-Coach run services from two operating depots in Otford and Swanley which run a mixture of commercial and school services as well as services operated on behalf of Kent County Council with a total of approximately 51 routes. Go Coach operate a number of rural services across Kent and as such, a number of their services operate at very low frequencies with limited operating hours.[13] Go Coach are also the main bus operator in the town of Sevenoaks (since Arriva Southern Counties withdrew a number of their Sevenoaks routes in April 2019[9]) and currently run and operate Sevenoaks bus station.[8][14]

Fleet

As of December 2020, the Go-Coach fleet consists of approximately 60 buses. The fleet consists of Optare Solo, Optare Versa, Optare MetroCity, Optare Tempo, DAF SB200, Alexander Dennis Enviro400 and Ford Tourneo vehicles.[15]

Go2 Sevenoaks

Since April 2020, Go-Coach have operated the Go2 demand responsive service in Sevenoaks in partnership with ViaVan. The service is designed to allow passengers to hail buses to their locations to remove the need for unnecessary bus operations.[16]

Service History

April 2020

The Go2 demand responsive service was introduced in April 2020 when Go-Coach suspended all of its fixed line bus services in Sevenoaks and Edenbridge due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[17]

The service initially ran Monday-Saturday only and covered the majority of the Sevenoaks District as well as extending north to Orpington and south to Tonbridge. It also served a number of hospitals outside of the main operating area including Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury, Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup and Princess Royal Hospital in Locksbottom.[18]

August 2020

In August 2020, Go-Coach reinstated a number of their fixed line bus services in Sevenoaks and Go2 continued to operate alongside these services. At the same time, the service was removed from Orpington and Tonbridge as well as the hospitals outside the main operating area.[13][19]

January 2021

In January 2021, Go-Coach again suspended a number of its Sevenoaks services due to the COVID-19 pandemic and replaced them with Go2.[20]

April 2021

In April 2021, the Go2 service area was expanded to serve West Kingsdown, East Hill, Fairseat and Stansted.

A limited Sunday service was also introduced on the service covering Sevenoaks, Swanley and West Kingsdown.[21]

At the same time, a number of Go-Coach fixed line bus services in Sevenoaks were reintroduced and Go2 again operates alongside these.[20]

May 2021

On 18 May 2021, Go-Coach expanded the Go2 service by introducing Go2 Direct. This service covers runs Monday-Saturday and covers the same service area as the normal Go2 service. Instead of working as a shared ride bus service, Go2 Direct is designed as a point to point taxi service to take passengers directly to and from their destinations.[22]

Operating Area

The key areas currently served by the Go2 service include: Sevenoaks Town Centre, Swanley, West Kingsdown, Kemsing, Hildenborough, Westerham and Edenbridge.[19]

References

  1. ^ "Go-Coachire Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  2. ^ a b A decade of Go Coach & Bus Week issue 1350 19 July 2018 pages 16-23
  3. ^ "Changes and cancellations to Arriva Bus Services". News Shopper May 2011.
  4. ^ "Go Coach launches Darts in Dartford". Bus & Coach Buyer, January 2014.
  5. ^ "Changes to bus times in the Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells areas". Arriva Southern Counties, April 2014.
  6. ^ "Go Coach to operate year round Sevenoaks bus service". Coach & Bus Week November 2015.
  7. ^ "Go Coach goes Silver Service". Coach & Bus Week July 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Go Coach route to Orpington replaces Arriva". RouteOne, August 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Arriva to stop running route 1 and 2 buses in Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells 285 service". Kent Online, March 2019.
  10. ^ "Route E1: Edenbridge Town Circular". Go-Coach. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Fastrack AZ: Dartford to Gravesend via Amazon LCY3". Go-Coach. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  12. ^ "New 24 hour bus route launched to serve Amazon's vast Dartford distribution depot". Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Timetables, Routes and Fares". Go Coach, 2020.
  14. ^ Go-Coach becomes Sevenoaks area's main operator Coach & Bus Week issue 1390 23 April 2019 page 10
  15. ^ "Go Coach Fleet List". Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  16. ^ "Go Coach and ViaVan launch on-demand public transport solution Go2". SmartTransport, April 2020.
  17. ^ "Sevenoaks bus services replaced by on-demand service". Horton Kirby and South Darenth Parish Council, April 2020.
  18. ^ "Go2 goes to Sevenoaks". Busandtrainuser.com. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  19. ^ a b "Go2 Operating Area". Go-Coach. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  20. ^ a b "Service Updates - April 2021". Go-Coach. Archived from the original on 29 March 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Service update from April 2021". Go2. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  22. ^ "Go2 Direct Services". Go2. Retrieved 19 May 2021.

Media related to Go Coach Hire at Wikimedia Commons