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June 20 2018
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

easyCoach to pitch against Arriva
in head-to-head battle

From next Wednesday (27 June) easyCoach’s orange and white buses will serve Wrexham and the surrounding area, and the man at the head of the enterprise, Andrew Martin, 54, who has a licence for the brand, says he “is confident locals will enjoy an improved service at lower prices.

“The Wrexham network has fared badly with the closure of two of three major operators since 2016. Having just one dominant operator isn’t great for the consumer, so we saw an opening for an innovative brand that would bring a breath of fresh air to the town.

“We guarantee fares will always be lower than our main competitor’s, giving customers more bang for their buck.”

EasyCoach launches with four main services. Route 2 (Oswestry-Wrexham) five minutes ahead of Arriva’s. Likewise the 2D (Wrexham-Cefn-Mawr) leaves five minutes before Arriva’s 2C. Working in tandem, both routes will deliver a service from Plas Madoc, via Ruabon and Johnstown, to Wrexham Bus Station every 15 minutes.

EasyCoach will also reinstate the Wrexham-Wrexham Industrial Estate (as route 42). Similarly its new route 44 (Wrexham-Barker’s Lane) runs half-hourly.

The routes are operated by Mr Martin’s Shrewsbury-based firm, The Skiers Lodge, which holds a 10-vehicle O-Licence. He also owns Express Airport Transfers (Europe) with a 13-vehicle O-Licence, while a new firm of his, TSL (Wales) has applied for an O-Licence, currently under consideration.

Together with his wife Sarah, Mr Martin owns an agency, Drivers4U (Europe) t/a

Mr Martin adds: “We already run easyBus airport shuttles from Wrexham. Anyone with an easyBus ticket to the airport can now travel for free on an easyCoach into Wrexham bus station, and then it’s a simple change for the airport service.”

Mr Martin, who says he recently sold his French easyBus business to National Express Group, has recruited 10 drivers for the new routes.

Work is currently being completed on the easyCoach depot in Rhosymedre, being painted orange.

If the Wrexham service proves a success, Mr Martin “hopes to expand into other towns as well.”

He adds: “The philosophy of the easyGroup is very much about taking on the big boys.

“We know from feedback in Wrexham that passengers feel they deserve more, and through cheaper fares and better service, easyCoach is well-placed to provide it.

“Although we’re focussing on Wrexham right now, we’re identifying other areas where we could potentially roll out the brand.”

In July 2017 The Skiers Lodge, running under its easyCoach brand, won Shropshire County Council contracts to operate the Bridgnorth town (route 101) from August 2017 and Shrewsbury-Bridghnorth (436) service from September 2017. After a “substantial number of complaints” the council replaced easyCoach with Arriva - the previous operator - in December 2017 on route 436.

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