North-east coach takes “bit of a gamble” with £1m investment

BUSINESS ; Premier Coaches have invested £1million on six new vehicles over the past six months. Pictured - Managing Director Alan Findlater with two of his new coaches. Picture by Kami Thomson 31-07-17

The boss of an Aberdeenshire coach firm admits it has taken a “bit of a gamble” by investing around £1million in its fleet during the past six months.

But Alan Findlater, owner and managing director at Premier Coaches, also said he expected an improving north-east economy to deliver new opportunities for the business.

Premier, which is based at Hill of Cottown, Kintore, was created after Mr Findlater took over Keirs Coaches in 2009.

Keirs’ operator’s licence had been revoked after a Vehicle and Operator Services Agency examiner described a bus the firm had used to transport Alford Academy pupils as “the worst public-service vehicle” he had come across in 12 years in the job.

Mr Findlater bought the business for a token 1p. He was granted a new licence, with a series of conditions because of the previous firm’s failings.

Premier’s recent investment has added six new executive coaches to the fleet, with the company having just taken delivery of the last two. It now has 17 coaches and 18 private hire cars.

Mr Findlater said: “We took over a failing business seven years ago, improved the infrastructure, fitted out a modern workshop, re-branded the fleet and generally set about introducing professional working practices.

“This level of investment is a bit of a gamble but we are already beginning to see this approach bringing dividends in repeat business and customer satisfaction, and I’m confident this will continue as the economy begins to recover.”