Mistral Group are proud to have provided two new ADL Enviro 400s to Johnsons Coach & Bus Travel.
The family-run business was established over 100 years ago with their bus service operation running since 2000. We spoke with Operations Director, Peter Johnson, on how the vehicles will be used, the history and developments of the business, the impact of COVID-19 on their operation, and concerns over the implementation of Zero-Emission vehicles.
Peter: “As a community travel provider, reliability is everything. We love our business, and we love serving the community. We are known for quality, which is why we are committed to constant upgrade of our fleet, to ensure that our vehicles spend less time in the workshop and more time in operation providing great services to our passengers.”
Peter and his brother John, who is the Commercial Director at Johnsons, are the third generation of the family to run the business, taking the reins in their twenties when the fleet consisted of a taxi, a lorry and two coaches. Since then, the operation has grown considerably, now providing specialist coach hire, holidays, day trips and bus services with a focus on offering accessible travel to all.
The Henley-based facility out of which the company operates was bought in 1987 and has been developed over the years with it being the centre of their business. Over 22,000 customers visit the site every year to embark on their travels.
Throughout the pandemic, operators around the country have faced struggles to fill their vehicles, with many coach trips being cancelled and the public reluctant to make use of bus services. Peter spoke on the support provided by Mistral during these unprecedented times: “Mistral supported us massively throughout the pandemic, providing payment relief and extensions on vehicle contracts which helped us to keep our operation running. After these difficult few years, it’s great to see passenger numbers on the rise again and we’re so pleased to have acquired these new vehicles for our customers.”
Whilst COVID-19 continues to impact bus and coach operations across the UK, there is further pressure being added with the rise of Zero-Emission vehicles. Peter commented: “There is some concern around how this situation pans out, especially with reduced ridership across most routes, still some 30% off pre-covid numbers. The reduced passenger numbers, high costs for Zero-Emission vehicles and for the infrastructure to support the operation, as well as the uncertainty around what support is going to be provided to operators by the government and local authorities make it difficult to say how we position ourselves with regards to the implementation of this new technology. In the end we must have profits to re-invest in all this plus we must make sure our work force is properly paid for the important work they do – without them we have nothing!