Surge in tourism demand sees Lanarkshire coach firm invest in new fleet

A North Lanarkshire firm that provides coaches for cross-Border National Express routes has upgraded its fleet to help manage a surge in tourism demand.

Bruce Coaches, based in Salsburgh, provides coaches for National Express routes from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Birmingham and London.

During the pandemic, the firm saw the number of tourists and workers using these routes fall sharply. However, it began to see customers return during the second half of 2021 as lockdown restrictions eased and people were able to travel again.

Since then, the business has seen a 50 per cent increase in bookings for the next 12 months. To meet this increase in demand, bosses have secured a seven-figure asset finance facility from Bank of Scotland, enabling the purchase of five new 57-seater coaches.

Bruce Coaches, based in Salsburgh, provides coaches for National Express routes from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Birmingham and London.

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The vehicles have replaced five older coaches which had collectively driven six million miles over the past five years.

John Bruce, director of Bruce Coaches, said: “As demand for our services ramps up, we needed to make sure that we had the capacity to continue to deliver a great service. Our five new coaches will enable us to do so and provide travellers with a first-class experience.

“The new Levante buses are fitted with a host of high-quality features, including leather seats and LCD screens.

“We’re confident that the business will continue to bounce back, and plan to further upgrade our fleet as we head into what we hope will be a strong year of growth.”

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Meganne Hodgson, associate director for the north east and Scotland at Bank of Scotland, which has supported the coach firm for more than 30 years, said: “Scotland’s tourism sector was severely affected by the pandemic, and transport firms like Bruce Coaches were heavily impacted throughout 2020 and 2021.

“It's encouraging to see business begin to return to normality for the firm and we hope the new fleet of coaches will help support the continued delivery of Bruce Coaches’ fantastic service.”

Bruce Coaches has an annual turnover of about £5 million and employs 45 people. As part of its current growth plans, the firm hopes to further renew its fleet next year with six more coaches.

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