More lucrative before and after Covid: Scheduled routes vs coach hire

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cnjb8

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Which is more lucrative, before or after Covid.
Is it scheduled routes eg. NatEx, Citylink, council tenders, commercial routes OR is it coach hire.
An example is was Beestons (Suffolk operator) right to ditch bus services in favour of coaching?
 
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PeterC

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Is it even possible to generalise? Around here companies seem to concentrate on one or the other but in other parts of the country I see operators doing both.
 

richw

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Look how quiet scheduled services are, and I think that will answer your question.
There is, and always has been better money in (correctly priced, some seem to go cheap to stop rivals getting the contract) contract hire.
 

cnjb8

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Beestons is based in Hadleigh, Suffolk, and I'm not sure that's been confirmed yet, has it?
Oh my apologies, I thought Ipswich had bought their routes?
Is it even possible to generalise? Around here companies seem to concentrate on one or the other but in other parts of the country I see operators doing both.

Look how quiet scheduled services are, and I think that will answer your question.
There is, and always has been better money in (correctly priced, some seem to go cheap to stop rivals getting the contract) contract hire.
It's tough, I'm not sure myself. I think after Covid it's scheduled routes that will be more profitable but then there is a boom going on in over 60s booking coach holidays
 

MotCO

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Look how quiet scheduled services are, and I think that will answer your question.
There is, and always has been better money in (correctly priced, some seem to go cheap to stop rivals getting the contract) contract hire.

Does that mean the SNAP model is the way forward? (Coach routes only run when there are sufficient passengers.)
 

Citistar

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Does that mean the SNAP model is the way forward? (Coach routes only run when there are sufficient passengers.)
I'm of the opinion that the Snap demand based model only works for major events such as festivals. It is a mere disruptor in the world of a properly operated network of services where the public has a huge range of requirements. It also works on the basis that the passenger will have a fallback option in case they decide not to operate a particular journey, which isn't a million miles away from the principle of the cowboy bus operator of yesteryear who can miss out services because their (usually larger) competitor is still running.

Every operator needs to have some confidence in their work being able to pay the costs of operation. One fellow local operator near me has often remarked that he'd quite happily run bin lorries rather than PSVs if they paid the bills. Most of us have an ideal of how our operations would run in a perfect world, but the truth is that has to be balanced with the economic realities of running a business. Occasionally that does mean chasing work we'd rather not be doing, but providing the sums are right, the rewards should be there. There is ebb and flow in every market, and never moreso than in these volatile times. Work which would have been considered unfavourable two years ago might be keeping an operation afloat now.

There is no perfect answer of "x is better work than y" that can be applied universally.
 

Eyersey468

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National Express arguably isn't always that lucrative for the operators as NX 'fine' operators for the slightest thing, dirty coach, late coach, marks on the bodywork etc etc.
I say 'fine' they are referred to as recharges but that's basically what they are.
 

richw

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National Express arguably isn't always that lucrative for the operators as NX 'fine' operators for the slightest thing, dirty coach, late coach, marks on the bodywork etc etc.
I say 'fine' they are referred to as recharges but that's basically what they are.
Not sure what NatEx are paying now but the last rates I seen was pretty low, one independent operator I know of claimed they got so many recharges they ended up paying NatEx
 

darloscott

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My company were doing lots of hires and especially school trips but we’ve not done one of those in over a year now... we’ve had a handful of hires over the last year but they can probably be counted on one hand. It’s been home to school contracts that has kept us going, that’s always been the bread and butter but has literally been the only thing left, even if majority of them weren’t running. Oh and the scheduled bus service they started last year that some days has been the only thing out. I won’t say it’s making money but it’s holding its own at the minute. We’ve been doing a fair bit of rail replacement work to keep the bills paid, luckily they had the foresight to invest in the right types of vehicles for this. As for the future? We have corporate contracts starting to come back online, along with the home to school contracts back up to full strength, and I see us getting more into buses (which is the side I look after) in the future too. Time will tell what will be better but I think it’ll take a long time for the school hires to fill the middle of the day to come back.
 

Eyersey468

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Not sure what NatEx are paying now but the last rates I seen was pretty low, one independent operator I know of claimed they got so many recharges they ended up paying NatEx
I can believe it.
 
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