Monday, 3 September 2012
The Carmel Triangle
Well respected coach and bus operator Carmel Coaches' latest expansion has now been revealed, with the first coach to appear in the Plymouth branded livery, and be moved to their current storage location in Plymouth. Carmel have been looking to expand into Plymouth for several months, and thanks to contract renewals for schools in the area, they now have a secure base to now be able to build on, rather than to dive in and hope for the best from private hire work.
Carmel have gained a very good reputation in Devon since 1984, and hence private hire work does come in from outside their immediate local area. The Exeter division of Carmel was only started 6 years ago, with just a handful of coaches, but has already grown into a dominant coach operator within the city, so it will be very interesting to see how fast they are able to grow in Plymouth. The coach industry in Plymouth has grown fast in itself in recent years, with the formation of Jackett Coaches and Oakley's, as well as the expansion of Target Travel, and Girlings (since their merger by Roselyn of Par). It will therefore be interesting to see how Carmel will mix in within Plymouth over the coming years. With the new base in Plymouth, it has also created quite an elegant triangle of coaches at the companies disposal, at Okehampton, Exeter and Plymouth, and therefore are in easy reach of any work that they may get within Plymouth, and over the borders into Somerset, and now quite possibly even Cornwall.
The coach itself that has started off has had an interesting history, passing through quite a few different operators over its working life. R36 GNW is a relatively rare DAF SB3000 bodied by Van Hool, which started life with Marchwood Motorways, and then passed to Armchair of London, but has also worked on National Express duties with Selwyns Travel, as well as private hire work. This was the first time I'd travelled on the SB3000, and I have to admit, I was extremely impressed! DAF often seem to make quite 'exciting' vehicles, despite their relative youth, and indeed the exhaust note from R36 was music to my ears! She really shifts as well, and cruised very comfortably on the limiter all the way down to Plymouth, on delivery from Exeter.