The bus and coach industry was out in force at the NEC Birmingham last week – checking out the next wave of vehicles, technology, equipment, accessories and business services launching onto the market at Coach & Bus UK 2017.
The two day biennial show, which took place on 4-5 October, welcomed 5,908 attendees, including senior executives from all the UK’s biggest coach and bus operators. Notably, there was a positive increase in bus and coach operators at the show (+2.4%). The number of top-level company representatives, including owners, partners, CEOs and managing directors, was also up 4%.
For those visitors who came in their thousands (of which nearly 70% have attended before), Coach & Bus UK is firmly established as the place where UK operators do business. It is a ‘must-attend’ for keeping up-to-date with the latest innovations, solutions, and insights. While for the show’s 191 exhibiting companies, it was the perfect opportunity to connect with all the key people in the industry in one place. Many have hailed it as a phenomenal success – praising the excellent quality of attendees, high level of engagement, and quantity of new leads and orders over the two days.
“This year’s Coach & Bus UK was a phenomenal success for Irizar UK and was by far the busiest exhibition we’ve ever exhibited at. As a team, we did not manage to stop for a breath through the two days and really enjoyed being part of the exhibition,” says Steve O’Neill, director at Irizar UK.
“This was a landmark show for Arriva Bus and Coach and one that will live long in the memory,” says Andrew Cullen, commercial director at Arriva Bus and Coach. “We have been overwhelmed by the incredible reaction of everyone who visited our stand and look forward to doing it all again next time.”
Attendees for 2017 included National Express, Stagecoach, First Bus, Arriva, The Go-Ahead Group, Metroline, Abellio, RATP Group, Translink, Rotala, trentbarton, Brighton & Hove Bus & Coach Co, Reading Buses, Nottingham City Transport, Metrobus, Centrebus, Bus Eireann, Lothian Buses, Oxford Bus Company, The Kings Ferry, Shearings, Alfa Travel, Edwards Coaches, Ulster Bus, Blackpool Transport Services, McGill’s Buses, Johnsons Coach and Bus Travel, Horseman Coaches, Golden Boy Coaches, Travel de Courcey, Transport For Greater Manchester, Transport for London, Transport for West Midlands, and Tower Transit.
Local authorities, community transport providers, and partnership coordinators – from across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, were also well represented.
Event director Helen Conway calls the support of the show ‘incredible’, praising the dedication of the thousands of attendees who turned out over both days (despite the rail strikes): “Based on the reaction from our industry, Coach & Bus UK was one of our best editions to date. It was a very busy, valuable and productive two days for everyone involved, so we really couldn’t ask for a better result!
“The aisles were busy with buyers ready to do business and many of our exhibitors have already reported significant deals and orders. There was a great range of new vehicles, products, and technologies on display, which provided a real buzz and illustrates just how much this sector is constantly innovating and evolving.
“We’re particularly grateful for the continuing support of our event partner – the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) and also our speakers, sponsors, visitors and exhibitors. Thanks for helping us put on a fantastic show!” she says.
A fantastic show
Significantly, the strong footfall has been backed by glowing testimonials. Important, innovative, standout, worthwhile, recommended, valuable, and enjoyable – are just some of the words attendees have used to describe the 2017 show so far.
Summing up his visitor experience, Steve Paye, surface owner – surface transport at Transport for London, says: “Coach & Bus UK is the standout event that works equally well for both the private and public sector organisations. It’s a must-not-miss in my diary.”
“Coach & Bus UK was a tremendous showcase for the advancements being developed by so many of the industry’s suppliers and partners. Not only do these offer support and solutions to operators in these ever challenging times, but most importantly will enable us to meet, and indeed perhaps beat, the expectations of our customers,” says Giles Fearnley, MD of First Group – UK Bus Division.
“I always leave the show buzzing and energised, it’s a great showcase for the industry. I cannot wait to see what innovative ideas are on offer each year, and I was not disappointed. There were some great speakers to learn from, great networking and winning a routeone award was the icing on the cake!” says Richard Stevens, MD at Plymouth Citybus.
“It was a day well spent! The exhibitors were engaging and all really helpful in their approach to imparting knowledge of their products. There were some innovative solutions to many issues available,” says Ian Tarran, regional engineering director, Arriva London.
“Coach & Bus UK consistently provides the right balance of innovation, demonstration and networking opportunities, well done,” says Ian Fraser, MD of The Kings Ferry.
Innovations & insights
Many of the innovations on show across the 16,000 sqm of exhibition space at Coach & Bus UK – from the latest ‘must have’ vehicles, accessories and equipment to cutting-edge technology, training and services – will be defining passenger transport design, developments, and solutions for years to come.
There were over 70 vehicles available to view across the show floor, in the new miniplus area, and outside display area, including exclusive launches.
Visitors were among the first to see Caetano’s Levante III (for National Express), Irizar’s i6S Integral, Ayats’ Eclipse double decker coach on a Scania chassis, Volvo Bus’ new Volvo B11R with Plaxton Elite-I bodywork and bespoke interior (for Acklam’s Coaches), Nu-Track’s Euro 6 wheelchair accessible bus, EVM’s Cityline 25 edition low floor minibus, and Project Insight Autonomous Transportation’s self-driving Pod. Plus, the latest models from Arriva, Auto Cuby, B.A.S.E., Dawsonrentals, GM Coachwork, London Hire, Mellor, Mercedes-Benz, Minis to Midis, Moseley (PCV), Mistral Group & Alexander Dennis, Pelican Bus & Coach, Swansea Coachworks, TBC Conversions, and Treka Bus.
Of course innovation wasn’t limited to just one area at the show – it was up and down every aisle. Mobile Onboard, Eminox, TruTac, Vision Techniques, Freeway Fleet System, Phoenix Seating, Cameron Forecourt with Jigsaw FUEL Management, Wheely-Safe/Michelin-Fit2Go, Capte, Trailer Vision, and Unwin, were just some of the other exhibitors showcasing cutting-edge developments.
Alongside the show’s bustling exhibition, The Theatre (sponsored by SmartDrive Systems) was a hive of activity throughout. Highlights included a stellar line-up of industry big hitters, including Giles Fearnley (First Bus), Ed Wills (Go South Coast), Steven Salmon (CPT), Helen Scholes (Stagecoach South West), Steve Whiteway (former MD of Epsom Coaches), Richard Harrington (Go Ahead London), Richard Grey (Grey’s of Ely), Adrian de Courcey (Travel de Courcey), and Ian Luckett (Lucketts Travel).
“It was a very good show. We always keep our diaries free for Coach & Bus UK, as it gives us the opportunity to see many of our suppliers in one place, and to learn about some of the new technologies emerging in our industry. Definitely worth the time!” says Ian Luckett, director of Lucketts Travel and CPT President for 2017.
Save the date for Euro Bus Expo 2018
The next event – Euro Bus Expo is already 75% sold out of exhibition space over a year before doors open. It returns to the NEC in Birmingham on 30 October-1 November 2018. Coach & Bus UK will take place the following year, in 2019.
Exhibitor sales enquiries to:
Martin Laverton, Group Sales Manager
t: +44 (0)1733 405735
High resolution images are available upon request:
The Theatre: http://www.coachandbusuk.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/VIS7581.jpg
The Theatre: http://www.coachandbusuk.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/VIS7533.jpg
Show – wide shot: http://www.coachandbusuk.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cbl_1.jpg
Further images: http://www.coachandbusuk.co.uk/show-news/coach-bus-uk-2017-opening-day-picture-gallery
Diversified Communications UK Ltd (Diversified UK) is a fast growing trade event organiser and publisher based in Brighton, Peterborough, and Nailsworth, Glos. Diversified UK’s portfolio includes Coach & Bus UK; Euro Bus Expo; routeone magazine; routeone Awards; Group Tourism & Travel Magazine (GT&T); British Tourism & Travel Show; British Coach Tourism Awards; CDC News; miniplus; CDC Tourism Yearbook; Accountex; SITS – The Service Desk & IT Support Show; Natural & Organic Products Europe; Nordic Organic Food Fair and Natural Products Scandinavia in Malmö, Sweden; Natural Products News; Natural Beauty News; Casual Dining; lunch!; Commercial Kitchen; GEO Business; Ocean Business; Capturing Reality; and MARELEC Marine Electromagnetics conference. For more information, visit: www.divcom.co.uk.
Diversified UK is part of Diversified Communications, a leading international media company providing market access, education and information through global, national and regional face–to–face events, digital and print publications and television stations. Diversified serves a number of industries including: seafood, food service, natural and organic, healthcare, commercial marine, and business management. Based in Portland, Maine, USA, Diversified employs over 850 staff, across eight divisions in seven countries. For more information, visit: www.divcom.com.