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August 29 2018
By Mel Holley

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

AC Williams: Fleet expansion
and new London-area base

Lincolnshire coach operator AC Williams Coaches has invested £1.7m in seven new Mercedes-Benz Euro 6 Tourismo 53-seat touring coaches. They are mix of fleet renewal and expansion.

The company’s Executive Chairman, Glen Pratt – who bought the firm six years ago – says the investment comes as it is setting its sights on further expansion.

It is opening a depot near Heathrow on 1 November, which will allow it to better serve its growing inbound tourism contracts, mainly groups from North America and Asia.

He says: “We continue to invest heavily in new vehicles as we win new business across the country. This is great news for our Lincolnshire-based workforce.

“The new depot will allow us to win work in London and the South East that we had been missing out on.

“I’m a very long-term investor. Coach and bus can be quite tough and you need to invest for the long term.

“With the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) from April 2019, we will be ready. It’s clear that if you want to operate in London - and potentially many other UK towns and cities - you will need to be Euro 6.

“We had looked at retrofit, as we did to reach Euro 5, but it’s not an option for us as there’s no system to reach Euro 6 that’s readily available at the moment.”

AC Williams operates 35 vehicles, with 17 front-line ‘exec’ coaches.

Added MD David Pratt: “After very successful trials of the Tourismo we found Mercedes-Benz to be the best all round vehicle for the fleet. Its performance and fuel economy coupled with the three-pointed star passenger appeal meant it is ideal for us.”

Continental - 2019