This September Kent-based coach operator, The Kings Ferry Travel Group, celebrates 50 years on the road. The Kings Ferry is a true local business success story and has grown to become one of the UK’s leading coach companies, providing an extensive range of transport services and winning more than 40 industry awards in the process.
50 years is a notable achievement for the company which was founded in 1968 by Peter O’Neill, who remained at the helm for nearly 40 years before it changed hands and was bought by National Express in 2007. The Kings Ferry’s core service has always been private coach hire, but over the years it expanded to include daily commuter services to London; VIP coach hire; and corporate travel management for business clients including the BBC, Sky and Premier League football clubs - to name a few.
Named after the Kingsferry Bridge which connects Swale with the Isle of Sheppey, The Kings Ferry has operated out of its Gillingham headquarters for 19 years and today operates a varied fleet of 87 vehicles, ranging from minibuses to 77-seater executive coaches. The company has thrived by remaining adaptable, customer-focused and utilising technology to strengthen its offering and unearth new opportunities.
It is particularly proud of its excellent record in the areas of passenger safety, driver training and environmental sustainability, and has won the coveted title: “UK Coach Operator of the Year” three times in the past seven years.
To mark the 50th anniversary The Kings Ferry has wrapped one of its coaches in a bold livery that is certain to catch-the-eye when out on the road. “It’s sort of like a giant ‘Happy Birthday To Us’ card. We are extremely proud of our longevity and success as a company, and I wish to thank our outstanding team who provide the highest levels of customer service each and every day of the year,” said Managing Director, Ian Fraser.
Investing in people has been pivotal to its success. “The Kings Ferry understands the key role our drivers and support staff play in providing passengers with a safe, enjoyable and value for money journey. We are always looking to recruit experienced coach drivers to the team, yet also provide full training for people who don’t yet hold a full PCV license. We are proud to be able to provide diverse opportunities within the company for those seeking to develop their career in this sector,” commented Ian Fraser.
The Kings Ferry Travel Group became part of the National Express Group in 2007, and purchased London-based coach operator, Clarkes of London, in December 2016. Since the acquisition, both companies have developed their internal operations alongside expanding services to the public. Importantly, both companies strive for “excellence as standard” and support each other in this goal.
“As we plan for the future, we are committed to keeping the customer front and centre, continually asking: “How can we serve our customers better?” And, as new technological and social opportunities arise in the next decade, we will remain flexible and true to our values, remembering to celebrate each milestone along the way,” concluded Ian Fraser.
People must be aged 21 or over to enter the training programmes for new drivers.