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routeone Issue 702 - 9 August 2017

Horseman Coaches E a certain percentage of those are assigned for what we call peak hires.” Capitalising on this dead-time, Horseman Coaches also carries out tour work. While it no longer sells its own holidays, the business has made valuable connections with various tour companies that run their own programmes. “We’ve built up a good rapport with them over the years, and the feedback is great. We do a lot of continental work,” says James. Pride and ethos There’s a real sense of pride emanating from James when he discusses the business his father worked so hard to build – a sense of pride that is also felt by many members of staff, some of them having been with the business since the beginning. “I’ve got a lot of respect for my dad and what he’s done. I think it’s admirable, and I don’t just say that because he’s my dad,” says James. “I’ve seen it first hand, I’ve seen what he sacrificed and I want that torch to continue. Wherever it goes from here, it’s going to be his legacy.” What sets Horseman Coaches apart is an ethos focused around delivering better standards as standard – and raising the bar in the industry. James explains that this ethos for delivering service and understanding the end product comes directly from his father. “My dad always said to me ‘don’t treat every deal as if it’s your last deal’,” says James. “What he means by that is don’t try and squeeze as much as you can out of that one hire, that one customer. If you squeeze as much as you can, they’ll see it and they won’t want to be part of it next time. Give something back. “We’re trying to deliver a better standard, not by offering that standard to the customer at an additional price, but just by thinking and having common sense. What do they need? They’re not just a line on a screen – it translates into an actual experience.” Hitting the milestone Looking forward, it’s business as usual. There are one-year, three-year and five-year targets to hit, and James says they’re on track to achieve them, as well as to remain dominant coach operator in Reading. The focus is also on Euro 6 and the ULEZ, with the business in talks with retrofit companies regarding retrofitting the remaining Euro 5 vehicles. As for the upcoming 40th anniversary on 7 November, it’s a time for everyone associated with the business to reflect and take stock of the achievements of the past four decades. “It’s quite an achievement to be in business for 40 years,” says James. “My dad has provided services during the ‘90s to local people who may not have otherwise had an alternative. He’s kept people in secure employment for the last 40 years, invested in the economy and contributed to local charities. “There’s a lot that’s been given back, and I think this anniversary is important to him. The sacrifices my dad made he had no choice but to make, because there was no one else there to do it – it was him and him alone.” // We’re trying to deliver a better standard, not by offering that standard to the customer at an additional price, but just by thinking and having common sense. What do they need? // A ABOVE: A line up of coaches reflected in the glass of the Horseman Coaches offices 30 / ROUTEONE.NET 9 AUGUST 2017


routeone Issue 702 - 9 August 2017
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