Brighton-based community transport provider The Big Lemon yesterday (4 August) announced the launch of its new international coach outfit, Brighton Horizon Coaches, at its seafront home.
The launch has been made possible by partnership with nearby coach and bus hire specialist Seaford and District, which has offered its coach fleet to The Big Lemon. The combined fleet will now include 12 coaches taken from both The Big Lemon’s existing fleet and Seaford and District’s fleet, all to be rebranded to the new Brighton Horizon Livery over the coming weeks.
Chief Executive Tom Druitt says: “I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved over the years and of working with David Mulpeter, Managing Director of Seaford and District.
“We’ve worked together more and more over the years and joining forces seemed like the next natural step – to run more coaches to more places for more people.”
The right time
Mr Druitt says the pandemic was a contributary factor in the partnership. “With much of our work lost, it was time to look at our future, strategy and costs,” he says. “With this partnership, the combined company will be able to share a depot, a workshop and many of our overheads will be reduced.”
Mr Druitt believes the merger will make the company financially more robust and better prepared for future difficulty. Partnership is something that has ‘made sense for a number of years’, he adds, “but we have been so busy we have never had time to explore it.” The slowdown as a result of the pandemic has given the company time to examine new avenues.
With the rebranding of Brighton and Hove Buses’ coach arm, Mr Druitt also believes it will give Brighton ‘its own coach company again’. He says: “We chose the name Brighton Horizon because we want the company to be focused on the Brighton community, but always looking at the horizon for new opportunities and places.”
The right people
25-year-old Coach Services Manager Ryan Wrotny is to lead the new project. Seaford was chosen for its ‘immaculate coaches, smart drivers and excellent service’. “They believe in giving the passengers the best service they can,” Mr Druitt says. “This new operation is all about the passenger and the passenger experience.
“I’m excited that we’ve been able to join two great coach operations together for a new coach company to represent the city.”
The Big Lemon will continue to focus on its environmentally friendly bus operations, with a particular focus on electrification of the fleet. Seaford and District meanwhile will focus on its bus operations and heritage fleet.