Archive for 2015

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Archive for 2015

Investors In People - Silver Accreditation

Investors in People Silver Accreditation

The Kings Ferry has become one of a select number of organisations across 75 countries in the World, to achieve the prestigious Silver status in the ‘Investors in People’ accreditation.

Investors in People recognises outstanding management, communication and training within businesses and organisations. From the thousands that seek Investors in People accreditation, only 6% gain the coveted Silver status.

“This is a testament to everyone’s hard work. Our ‘People’ value is incredibly important - without our staff we simply couldn’t deliver the service we do, day-in, day-out. We hope this award shows just how dedicated we are to supporting our staff and their development and how much we value their contribution to our ongoing success.”
Jenifer Richmond HR Director 

Ian Fraser, Managing Director of The Kings Ferry, said: “Achieving the Investors in People Silver standard is something our organisation should be truly proud of. It is the sign of a company which is very committed to good people management practice and I’d like to congratulate each and every member of staff on their achievement.”

To achieve the initial Investors in People status a company or organisation has to meet 39 tough standards over the way they train and develop their people. To achieve silver status a further 76 evidence requirements must also be met. The Kings Ferry are now working towards the IIP Gold Standard.

For more information about Investors in People please visit www.investorsinpeople.co.uk

Additional Maidstone Service

From January 2016

The introduction of our new Maidstone route has been a tremendous success, and we are delighted to announce the introduction of a second 774 service starting in early January 2016. Many of you have filled out surveys, telling us what times would be best for you and we have devised a timetable that we hope will meet the needs of as many of our customers as possible.

We have added in 5 new stops in London road, Maidstone on both services instead of looping back across the river to service the Kent History & Library Centre.

As mentioned before the launch of the Maidstone route, we will monitor passenger numbers and feedback with a view to increasing the number of services and options for our customers as often as possible, as we understand the importance of choice and flexibility on your daily commute.

View 774 Timetable in effect from January 2016
 

Watch out for more great news in the next few weeks!

20% off any coach, anywhere, any time (in 2015)

20% off any coach, anywhere, any time (in 2015)

If you have a group trip or corporate event planned to travel this year, today is your lucky day.

We are offering a massive 20% off all coach hire prices for trips between now and the end of the year*! This even includes our VIP services, so if you want to travel in luxury and arrival in style, you can now do it for less!

When you board one of our award winning coaches you know you'll be travelling in comfort and style. Wherever you are travelling to, our modern fleet comes fully equipped with the latest technology, air conditioning and luxurious seating. You will travel safe in the knowledge that our years of experience in the industry delivers the very best possible customer satisfaction every time you travel with us.

To claim your discount please call us on 0845 257 9848 and quote 'End of year offer' when providing your trip details, or enter it into 'Any other information' on the quick quote form online.

Quick Quote

Terms and conditions
Offer only applicable to new coach hire quotes from non contracted customers travelling in 2015, who provide the reference code 'End of Year offer' at the initial point of contact before being provided the quote. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer or reduced rate. The Kings Ferry reserve the right to cancel this offer at any time.

25% Off Theme Park Day Trips

Up to 25% off merlin theme parks with The Kings Ferry

Book your next year's trip to Chessington World of Adventures Resort or THORPE PARK Resort before 24th December this year and receive up to a whopping 25% discount on your tickets.

To make things easy we have packaged up your ticket prices and your coach travel to give you some great rates!

Off Peak
Chessington World of Adventure Resort = From £19 per student
THORPE PARK Resort = From £23 per student

Peak
Chessington World of Adventure Resort = From £22 per student
THORPE PARK Resort  = From £29 per student

Prices based on 49 people: 45 students and 4 teachers (free entry). The per student price will increase for every seat not filled.

Your Travel

Coach travel to and from your chosen theme park is included within the price. Travel in comfort, safe in the knowledge that as an award winning coach operator, you and your students are in safe hands. Awarded Coach Operator of the Year more than 17 times, The Kings Ferry do not provide sub-standard coaches to school trips as some others might - because we dont own any!

Our years of experience in providing safe and reliable coach travel to schools will make sure that your trip runs as smooth as possible. The Kings Ferry can also provide a range of vehicles to suit your needs from 16 to 77 seats.

We will work with you to ensure your trip is well planned and that it meets your study requirements and budget. In addition we will always endeavour to go a little bit further to make your trip extra special!

So whatever the age and size of your group, get in touch and let The Kings Ferry take the hard work out of planning your next school trip. Call us on 0845 257 9847 or submit a quick quote.

Quick Quote

Commuter Christmas Trip: Lille

Lille Christmas Market

We are pleased to announce this year's annual commuter day trip destination is Lille, France. Wooden chalets of the Christmas Market offer Christmas decorations and festive food, as well as arts and crafts. A Ferris Wheel turns on the main square, which is transformed into a winter wonderland, dominated by an 18-meter high Christmas tree. Shop windows compete to be the most original, and the 3900 shops in the city offer something for every taste and every budget.

Date: Sunday 6th December
Destination: Lille, France
Capacity: 150 passengers
Price: £10 (Annual Season Ticket Customers go FREE)
Pick-up locations: Wigmore, Hempstead Valley, Bluebell Hill Car Park, Sheerness Bus Station, Iwade or Sonora Fields.
First pick-up: 0720 hrs - Crossing: 0920 hrs
Returning in the UK at approx 1900 hrs

Customers wishing to book their place on the trip please provide us with the following information;

  • Number of tickets required (Maximum of 4 per customer)
  • Full names of each passenger
  • Address
  • Pick-up location
  • Contact number for the day
  • Your current ticket type

Book your place

Tickets for the trip are sold on a first come first serve basis so please get your order in early to avoid disappointment. Exact pick-up times will be confirmed nearer the date.

 

Macmillan Cancer support fund raising

Thank you once again for all your efforts on making the Macmillan coffee morning and fund raising day a success. We have been counting the pennies brought in from our customers and the friends and families of our staff and can reveal that we have a total amount of……

£2,112.86! 

A whopping £1,123 came direct from our commuter customers and we cannot express how grateful we are for your support. We couldn’t put 1200 cups of coffee on our commuter coaches so we provided biscuits for all in exchange for your generous donations.

Many staff members raised money from different initiatives too, most notably the ‘Big shave off’.

Staff set their own thresholds, which if met, they would shave their head or beard.

The Kings Ferry engineering staff post shave
The Kings Ferry engineering/driving staff post shave

Managing Director, Ian Fraser set his at £1,000 in exchange for his much loved facial hair, and a few days ago we were witness to an amazing transformation.

Before: After:
Ian Fraser - Pre charity shave Ian Fraser post shave with Dr Green's barbers

The work was masterfully and traditionally carried out by Mr Green’s Barber shop and tattoo parlour in Gillingham.

Macmillan Cancer Support is such a great cause, Cancer now effects 1 in 2 people in the UK. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, you’re not alone. Get information, advice and support and hear from other people who understand what you’re going through via the Macmillan website  http://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/index.html#162023

Thank you once again.

Cycle Superhighway Update

Route Updates

Existing Services:

Some of you may have already seen that we have made some timetable amendments on our existing services. Ever changing travel congestion caused by road works, tunnel closures, accidents etc mean that it is really difficult to predict accurate timings on the London section of our routes. We recognise how important it is for our customers that we provide a more accurate timetable and deliver against it consistently. We have made some small timing amendments which we believe will help bring our services much closer to being able to achieve our planned stop times. I don’t imagine that this will be the last time we need to make changes to our timetables however I hope that we can bring an improved experience for you for some time to come.

New Routes:

We recently announced the launch of...

774 Maidstone Service:

On Monday 5th October we begin a new service from Maidstone to London. This is a new proposition for us which will help us achieve the growth we have targeted over the next 3 years. We have received a number of requests over the years from commuters living in the Maidstone area and we now feel that we can create a viable and sustainable service on this corridor. This will be a heavily competed route but that can only mean an improvement in service for all consumers in this area. Full details on the service including route and timetable information are available on our website. 

Visit our Maidstone page for fares and timetables

726 North Greenwich Service:

For some time now we have been trying to identify ways to improve journey time whilst still serving the basic requirements of our customers.  We will be running a 3 month trial on a service between Swale, Medway and North Greenwich underground station.

We have chosen this route as it de-risks your normal coach journey by avoiding our greatest congestion zone, Blackwall Tunnel. Customers will be able to predict journey times more accurately by using the tube network. Possibly the greatest improvement offered by this route will be the journey home, because the service starts at Nth Greenwich we remove the potential delays at the tunnel offering a flyer service back to our local area. If this service proves popular we will apply for a full licence to operate beyond the trial period. During the trial any customers will be able to travel on any ticket type however a full service will mean a discounted ticket price in acknowledgement that you will have onward travel costs.

More details to follow very shortly

Investment in fleet

Our commitment to investment in new vehicles has reached £4.3m so far this year; the latest arrivals from Mercedes and Irizar are to run alongside our Volvo fleet so that we can evaluate their performance and formulate our future buying strategy.

Your opinion of these new vehicles would be truly welcome to help us assess not only operational cost and environmental impact but also how they make you the customer feel.

One manufacturer we are excited to be dealing with again after a number of years is Van-Hool, highly regarded and known as a premium quality vehicle in the Coach industry. We have taken five vehicles from Van-Hool this year at a significantly uplifted purchase price and have high expectations for them, we hope you enjoy the experience of travelling on them.

Since 2010 the Company has invested over £19m updating our fleet so that no vehicle is older than seven years, we still have more to do in this area but we are nearly there, and take great pride in the achievement. The seven year replacement program means that by 2020 every single Kings Ferry vehicle will meet the stringent Euro six emission standard required for London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone.

None of this means that we have put our feet up though!  We will continue to search for innovation to help us improve your experience either on board or in your wallet.

Vanhool Overdecker

The Kings Ferry Coach Award Nominee

After scooping Large Coach Operator of the Year - Route One Awards and UK Coach Operator of the Year at the UK Coach Awards last year, we have a second chance to defend our title after narrowly missing out on the top award at this year’s UK Coach awards by being shortlisted for September’s Route One for Large Coach Operator of the Year.

It’s unlikely that an operator will win back to back but it’s been done before, and we have a lot to shout about in the last 12 months so we have every chance.

After being pipped to the post by Edwards Coaches who invested heavily in their fleet in this year’s UK Coach Award, the Route One nomination is an opportunity to prove we are still one of the UK’s top operators.

What the judges are looking for:

  • Excellent service that wins plaudits from their customers
  • Excellent vehicles as a result of robust systems and compliance checking
  • Excellent drivers as a result of the management’s close attention to detail and impeccable standards
  • Increased turnover and profit, while maintaining investment.

A congratulations is also in order for our Head of Operations Nadene Harman-Smith who has been shortlisted for Coach Manager of The Year.

Trustpilot lets our true colours shine

We live in a world where word of mouth (or should I say text/type) is more influential than ever, especially when it comes to buying decisions. People have always had opinions, but they never used to make it any further than their circle of friends, or even Susan at the hairdressers at a push.

These days everyone and anyone can log on and let the whole world know exactly what they think about a product or service, and it will be added to a long list of other customer opinions, where any potential buyer can sit and read to their hearts content until they make up their mind.

People trust what others say about a product or service, agreed, the old way was more powerful, they knew each other, their opinions were valuable. An online review does not carry as much credibility, you’ve never met the person and their core values may be at odds to yours so why listen to them? Fair point but when you add it to many others, suddenly they have some impact.

Your decision is swayed by public opinion, displayed to you in a very attractive star rating removing the need to even process this information for yourself, it tells you. If your company or brand provide a good service you can see this is a great way of gaining more enquiries as it is the best advertising on offer.

 At The Kings Ferry we receive some great direct feedback, and we are confident that by letting people provide it publicly that our true colours will shine through.

The introduction of Trustpilot allows private hire customers to leave their review accessed by a unique link sent to them via a post journey mail. It’s been a great start, with a trustscore of 9.2/10 which is labelled as Excellent. A recent increase in website conversion rates by 26% provides good evidence that it is making a difference too.

As we say….The Kings Ferry, a name you can trust.

Conservative 'Battle Bus'

David Cameron 2015 Election Campaign, Battle Bus

For nearly 100 years, politicians have climbed aboard buses and toured the country to sell their parties' General Election messages to voters.

Thousands of miles have been covered by the political party leaders as they trekked across the nation in the hope of securing victory on May 7.

With so many places to visit, so many people to see, each of the leaders – David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage – wants to be seen as in touch with the people of Britain. But which leader has gone the extra mile?

This is where The Kings Ferry is involved. We were selected, for the second time, as the coach travel provider for the Conservative election campaign, providing 3 luxury vehicles for David Cameron and his team to enjoy whilst on their travels around the UK.

David Cameron 2015 Election Campaign, Battle Bus

The first rally of the campaign was at a school at Chippenham in Wiltshire, where the Conservatives were hoping to overturn Duncan Hames's Liberal Democrat majority of just over 2,400.

Mr Cameron - jacket off, sleeves rolled up - made a short 10 minute speach to about 300 Tory in a school hall, then headed straight back to London to continue his campaign.

David Cameron 2015 Election Campaign, Battle Bus

In total David Cameron’s campaign travelled saw him travel 7,862 miles, most of which on-board The Kings Ferry. The final journey saw the campaign travel from Carlisle to Newcastle Airport on Wednesday, day 38 to fly home before voting began at 7am the next morning.

The BBC made a short film introducing the ‘Battle Bus’ and we also have an interview with David Cameron himself on-board from his private rear lounge.

Kings Ferry Support Weston Colour Run

The Kings Ferry proudly support Weston Hospicecare, the organisers of the Weston Colour Run which took place on Sunday 26th April in Weston-super-Mare and was a great success.

“We had over 1500 participants take part on the day and we hope to raise £55,000 from the event. This would simply not be possible without support from local businesses who help ensure that each event is a success.”

Claire Dibben
Event Fundraiser | Weston Hospicecare

The Kings Ferry provide shuttles to the event easing congestion in the village and helping hundreds of runners arrive safely and in one piece ready for their run!

Below are some great photos from the event.

Weston Colour Run

Weston Colour Run

Weston Colour Run

Weston Colour Run

Commuter Tales - Video

Every day, thousands of commutes are undertaken to get workers into London. For some the experience is a chore and others a nightmare, while at a push, the act of getting into work can even be a delight if you travel with someone you like or if in comfort.

Here at Kings Ferry we know there are lots of different ways to commute into the capital and went to find out how these modes of transport measured up. Everyone has a story to tell, whether they travel by road, Tube or coach, from being elbowed by fellow passengers to being asked out on a date.

In this video, commuters were asked to describe their daily process in just one word, with responses varying from 'average' and 'variable' to a positive sounding 'exciting' and 'adventure'. Could you describe your commute in just one word and what things do you do to try and make it more pleasant?

London is a world-class city and some people use the commute to take advantage of this, while others get lost in the frustrations. Each day brings new challenges and stories, which shape the life of a commuter.

These personal tales have a resonance with anyone who spends time travelling in and out of the city on a daily basis. This turns individual stories into the experience of the masses and allows us to relate to what is being said.

Listen to the anecdotes of fellow commuters and see if you can spot scenarios that have also happened to you.

These are the commuter tales.

Opening Partner for Warwickshire and National Express

Press release

Warwickshire County Cricket Club has secured a new deal with leading travel firm, National Express, to become the Official Coach & Bus Travel Partner to the Club and Edgbaston Stadium until at least 2018.

From this coming cricket season, National Express West Midlands, which operates the region’s buses, will provide transport links from Birmingham New Street Station and a number of other city locations to Edgbaston on all Major Match days, including this summer’s Investec Ashes Test Match and NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day. Return shuttle services will also operate for Birmingham Bears’ Friday night NatWest T20 Blast group games at Edgbaston.



In addition, the partnership includes a package for the Warwickshire and Birmingham Bears playing squad to travel to away fixtures in the supreme comfort of a special executive coach provided by National Express’s sister brand The Kings Ferry which operates luxury private hire vehicles, over the course of the season.



Gareth Roberts, Commercial Director at Warwickshire CCC, said: “The new partnership with National Express will make it easier than ever before for spectators to access Edgbaston, with an enhanced shuttle service running from Birmingham City Centre for Major Match and NatWest T20 Blast games.



“We’re constantly investing and looking at new ways of making the spectator experience at Edgbaston even more enjoyable. It’s great that National Express shares our vision and we look forward to working with them.”



Edgbaston has a packed cricket schedule for the coming years following the recent Major Match allocation from the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB). This included an Investec Test Match being staged at Edgbaston each year, until at least 2019, and NatWest T20 Blast Finals Day until 2018. Edgbaston will also host five matches, including a semi-final, in both the ICC Champions Trophy in 2017 and the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019.



National Express West Midlands Managing Director Peter Coates said: "We are thrilled to become the official travel partner of Warwickshire and Birmingham Bears. Based in the heart of Birmingham, National Express is perfectly positioned to carry fans directly and affordably to Edgbaston Stadium and our new shuttle service will make the big matches even more accessible.”



National Express UK Coach Commercial Director Sarah Copley said: "Our luxury private hire coaches are the perfect means of ensuring the Birmingham Bears can travel in comfort to arrive rested, refreshed and ready to perform at the top fixtures. Fans can come to Birmingham to see the Bears play using our unparalled coach network that connects almost 1,000 UK destinations and providing people with comfortable, affordable and reliable transport."



For further information on tickets for the 3rd Investec Ashes Test Match or other Major Matches at Edgbaston, please visit www.edgbaston.com.



Pictured above: Warwickshire County Cricket Club Chief Executive Colin Povey with National Express UK Coach Commercial Director Sarah Copley

We're going online!

For the first time, commuters can take advantage of purchasing tickets online in four simple steps. 

The new facility, which will be available for customers from 3rd March, is a great way to buy travel without having to make a call, come into the office or carry lots of cash on the coach, saving time and giving customers even more flexibility.

The new service allows commuters to choose between delivery or collection for Annual Season tickets and redeem other ticket types on the coach with an automated booking received by email.

Customers will be able to register and manage their accounts online and will keep track of all past and current bookings allowing the user to manage their travel more efficiently, so no need to file receipts and tickets.

Ian Fraser, Managing Director at The Kings Ferry comments, “We are continually updating our fleet of coaches and investing in new technology to provide a better experience for our customers and I’m delighted that we are now also able to provide online ticketing”. 

Customers will need to register an account in order to purchase tickets via the website, and a passport style photo is required upon registration for ID purposes. Customers can register in advance and the booking facility will be live from 3rd March.

  Register your account

Customers can still purchase over the phone, at reception or on the coach but will not be able to take advantage of the online features designed to make your booking experience easier.

The Kings Ferry
Commuter Department

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