News from 2016
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at Prentice Coaches
We've had an amazing year, topped off by winning the 'Top Independent Operator' category at the 2016 UK Bus Awards last month.
In 2016 we've added 3 brand new service buses to our fleet, launched a new version of the 108 Haddington to Fort Kinnaird bus service in August after First Bus decided to withdraw from East Lothian and the new 101 Haddington Town Service in early November.
In June we celebrated our 25th Anniversary since we started our business, and our 111 Connecting East Lothian to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary was the runner up in the 'Best Bus Service' category at the Scottish Transport Awards held in Glasgow. We intend continuing to innovate and improve the quality of service we provide our customers in 2017.
We hope all our friends and customers have a good festive period and we look forward to providing the same high standard of service that we have become renowned for next year and beyond.
UK Bus Awards Success
It is with immense pride that we can announce that yesterday at the UK Bus Awards which were held in The Ballroom, South Bank in London and attended by around 700 guests, we won the 'Top Independent Bus Operator of the Year' Gold award.
In addition we won the Bronze Award in the overall 'UK Bus Operator of the Year' category.
This achievement would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication our entire team puts into delivering our bus services every day or without the fantastic support our local community have shown us.
The judges made the following comments- We liked this small, but high quality bus operation, not afraid to invest in new vehicles and the latest technology to deliver a better experience for its customers.
Prentice Coaches is a forward thinking innovative company that believes in running modern, eco-friendly buses, kept in immaculate condition, coupled with an old fashioned customer care ethos delivered by staff who take immense pride in delivering 21st century transport to our community.
Another new bus, for a new route
Our new 101 Haddington Town Service starts tomorrow morning, What we didn't tell you was that we have bought a brand new low floor, wheelchair accessible, Mercedes minibus to run the route.
Built to our specification by Mellor Coachcraft this is their new Strata model and is only the 3rd one to enter service. We bought it as it's ideally suited to some of the narrower streets the town service will use and being a Euro 6 model will produce amongst the lowest emissions of any vehicle on the road, this coupled to excellent fuel consumption also means extremely low C02 output.
We look forward to welcoming passengers onboard tomorrow and every weekday thereafter.
25 Years of Silver Service
We were visited earlier this year by Tim Deakin from Route ONE magazine to interview us about our 25th anniversary. The article was published in weeks Eurobus Expo issue
Click on the image to read the full article
East Lothian's Newest Bus
Our latest Eco-Friendly Enviro 200 bus entered service this morning on our 108 Haddington to Fort Kinnaird service. This is our 4th new bus within the last year all of which meet 'Low Carbon Bus' status as they produce 30% less greenhouse gases than a standard bus.
Featuring FREE WiFi and usb charging point like our other buses this bus is slightly longer and features 39 seats to increase capacity at busy times on the 108. We have made the investment in this new bus as we believe there is a long term future for the 108 and we will be adding additional journeys from Monday 14th November.
A new Town Service for Haddington
We are delighted to announce that we are launching a new Town Service for Haddington on Monday 7th November.
The route will provide a bus service to areas of Haddington that are some distance from the main bus routes, or are only served sporadically by other bus services.
The 101 Town Service will comprise of three loops. The Nungate Loop will serve Briery Bank, Seggarsdean and Lyn Lea Avenue and will connect with our 108 service to Musselburgh and Fort Kinnaird. The Roodlands Loop will provide an hourly service to the Hospital as well as the Herdmanflat and Riverside Drive area's of the town. The Acredales Loop will serve Wellside, Long Cram and Clerkington Road.
Printed timetables will be available in a few days but in the meantime click here to view the 101 timetable and routes
UK Bus Awards Finalists
We are extremely proud to announce that we are one of only 5 companies shortlisted for 'Top Independent Bus Operator' at this year's UK Bus Awards.
We found out the news a few weeks ago but have been sworn to secrecy until the official announment yesterday. The winners will be announced on London on 23rd November but in the meantime 'mystery shoppers' will be evaluating all finalists services to ensure that they meet the exacting standards of these prestigious awards.
click here To see further information about all 5 finalists in our category.
Smartrip - our new smartcards
We now have our very own smartcard, in conjuction with Transport Scotland and sQuid, it allows passengers to top up the card online and then use it to pay for travel on our buses, rather than using cash, much the same as the Oyster card works in London.
We will be adding more features in the coming weeks which will allow Multi-Journey tickets to be purchased online and sent directly to the card
Smartrip cards are free, to get one simply send an email with your name and address to email@example.com or pop into our office in Haddington.
A fantastic responce to the new 108
We've had a fantastic response to our new 108 service from Haddington to Musselburgh and Fort Kinnaird, Passenger use in the first week has exceeded our initial expectations, and whilst further growth is needed we are confident we can make the route a success.
"FANTASTIC! After years of using First buses 108 service from Musselburgh to Haddington and back, can I please take this opportunity to thank you for a fantastic journey today on a smart, clean, on time, WiFi enabled bus"
"I am finding your new services great! So nice to be greeted by a smile and nice friendly drivers. Thank you what a breath of fresh air!"
"We got on the new 108 service this morning and I would like to say thank you for a great value reliable service the drivers were very helpful and cheery."
"I travelled on the 108 service on Wednesday morning at 10.00 from Haddington to Tranent and was so impressed with the friendly, pleasant greeting as I boarded the bus. I was further impressed on my return at 2.30 when again I boarded to a friendly greeting from another very accommodating driver. It made such a change from the often surly drivers on some other bus services"
We're ready for the 108
A new bus for a new route!
There has been a lot of work to do in a very short time but we are ready to launch the new 108 tomorrow morning.
We will start as we mean to go on with one of our new Eco-Friendly 'Low Carbon Vehicle' Enviro 200 buses launching the route. All buses used on the route will have Free WiFi, usb charging points, be Eco-Friendly and of course be low floor and wheelchair accessible.
We look forward to welcoming passengers on board and providing the quality of service the people of East Lothian deserve. As we have said previously, this is a starting point for the 108 and if passenger use is sufficient we will look at adding additional journeys.
We are delighted to announce that we are launching a new version of the 108 service between Haddington and Fort Kinnaird on Monday 15th of August.
We were approached by East Lothian Council who were concerned that following the withdrawal by First Group, and no other operator wanting to take on the route, there would no longer be a direct link between Haddington and Musselburgh. They asked us to look at altering our 122 service to provide this link but this proved impossible without impacting on our existing 110 and 111 services.
We have therefore taken the decision to operate this route commercially and without any subsidy from East Lothian Council in the belief that there is a community need for this service and that by running it to the same high quality as our other bus services that we can make it successful.
Initially there will be 9 return weekday journeys between Haddington High Street and the Primary Care Centre / Tesco store in Musselburgh with 6 of those extended to Fort Kinnaird, with 4 return journeys on a Saturday.
We would like to point out that this is a starting point and if passenger use is sufficient we will look at adding additional journeys. Timetables for the route are now available on our website, on our buses and in local libraries and council offices.
On the same day we will also be introducing Day Tickets, consisting of Urban Zone, Rural Zone and All Zones, to allow easier transfer for passengers across our expanded network.
There will also be a morning and evening journey on the 108 to provide a link for employees to Elphinstone Research Centre from Musselburgh and Wallyford, with our 110 being altered slightly to provide a link from the Centre to Tranent, Prestonpans and Port Seton. There will be no changes to our popular 111 route to Edinburgh Royal infirmary for the time being.
Councillor Michael Veitch, East Lothian Council's transport spokesman said:
"I am delighted that Prentice Coaches have decided to take on the 108 service. Musselburgh and Haddington are two of our key population centres, and Prentice are to be congratulated for ensuring that a direct link between these towns, as well as to The Fort, is to continue. East Lothian passengers are already familiar with the extremely high standard of service provided by this firm, and will I am sure, be delighted by this news."
Turf Cutting at the Riding of the Marches 2016
We had an unforgettable time yesterday evening at Musselburgh Riding of the Marches 2016 We were proud to sponsor the turf cutting station at the Roman Bridge for this ancient event which only happens every 21 years.
Replacement for withdrawn 108 service
In order to end speculation, we can confirm that, subject to approval by the Scottish Traffic Commissioner, we intend launching a new version of the 108 service between Haddington and Fort Kinnaird on Monday 15th of August.
For legal reasons we can make no further comment, nor release timetable information, until we are informed of the Traffic Commissioners decision.
Scottish Transport Awards
Not a bad result for a small bus company from Haddington!!
We had a great time at the Scottish Transport Awards in Glasgow yesterday evening. Our 111-122 Connecting East Lothian to Edinburgh Royal infirmary bus service won a Highly Commended award from the judges in the 'Best Bus Service' category. Congratulations once again to Lothian Buses who deservedly won the category for their excellent 113 Pencaitland to Western General service.
Our latest ECO-Friendly bus
Our latest brand new ECO-Friendly bus, SN16 OGR entered service this morning on our 111 Connecting East Lothian to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
It joins two identical buses delivered in September 2015 on the route that is now run entirely with 'Low Carbon Emission' Buses.
Passenger numbers continue to rise on a weekly basis on the 111 with average numbers now double those carried in the first week of operation only 10 months ago.
We take your safety seriously
We take our passengers safety very seriously, that's why we have a portable brake tester.
Every vehicle is brake tested at least once a month, along with a complete vehicle comprehensive safety inspection.