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routeone Issue 702 - 9 August 2017

profile THE TORCH IS PASSED It’s well known that coach operators are driven with an iron fist, and Keith and James Horseman are no exception. As they prepare to celebrate their 40th year in business, we look under the hood at Horseman Coaches From a £100 deposit on two minibuses to a fleet of 61 vehicles on the road, Readingbased Horseman Coaches has come a long way since its inception almost 40 years ago. Keith Horseman and his wife Anne established the business in 1977, with the primary goal of becoming the dominant operator in the area. Today the business stands as a testament to that goal, and to the vision that Keith had for the future. “I did envisage it being what it is today,” says Keith, who maintains a directorship in the business. “Forty years ago the industry was quite poor – not properly regulated and not enough attention given to image, service, and customer care. “I saw that as weaknesses in the industry. I thought, if we can concentrate on our image and improve marketing, customer care and image, it will only result in the business growing.” And grow it did – in fleet size, staff numbers and profits. Today the business employs around 83 people, and in the last five years has spent £7 million on creating a consistent and ULEZ-ready fleet. The challenges of growth The success that Horseman Coaches has seen hasn’t come without its challenges – and as Keith’s son and Company Director James explains, the driving force throughout the good and bad over the last 40 years has been his father. Recalling when he was around six years old, James says that it was commonplace for his father to work across the business, often seven day a week. “That seems an unmanageable amount or perhaps an exaggeration, but it’s not,” says James. “We had a contract with Huntley Bourne & Stevens where the staff had to be on the production line for the first shift at 0500hrs, with the last shift ending at midnight.” Beth Hutson / Trainee Journalist 28 / ROUTE…ONE.NET 9 AUGUST 2017


routeone Issue 702 - 9 August 2017
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