A Bloom-ing marvellous service
Coming up on 35 years in business, Slieve Bloom Coach Tours Ltd, incorporating Townlink Express, has taken delivery of no fewer than four new coaches this year for its burgeoning tours and scheduled services.
The Mountmellick, Co Laois-based operator has invested in two new Mercedes-Benz Tourismos and two new Volvo B8RLEs. The tri- and two-axle Tourismos were both purchased from the M50 Truck & Van Centre, with the 46-seater Volvos coming from Irish Commercials in Naas.
The all-new Tourismo combines maximum comfort, reliability and outstanding economy. Its numerous customisable features make it an ideal choice for any tour operator. These include the separate daytime running lamps of the H7 headlamps and the optional bi-xenon headlamps for greater safety resulting from improved visibility.
The new Volvo city buses, which feature MCV eVoRa bodywork, join a Volvo integral B11R 9700 in Slieve Bloom’s modern fleet of 30 coaches.
“We’ve invested heavily in our tour buses since 2015,” explains founder and managing director Des O’Connell.
“We bought two new coaches in both 2015 and ’16, one in ’17, one in ’18 and two this year. The first Tourismo we purchased, which is a 55-seater 13m two-axle, has been on tour since it arrived in February, while the second one, which is a larger 63-seater 14m tri-axle, came in August and is dedicated to the tours and day trips we provide for Notre Dame School in Dublin.
“We’re very happy with the two new tour coaches and with the Volvo B8RLEs which have a low floor and are wheelchair accessible. They’re used on our scheduled Townlink services here in the midlands. Our fleet is mostly Volvo and our existing Volvo vehicles have served us brilliantly for some time. So when it came to adding vehicles to our Townlink service, Volvo was an easy choice as we feel it’s important for us to invest in our future.”
In addition, the new Volvos feature a host of complementary features, including surround CCTV, an audio PA system and assault screens that contribute to the overall comfort and security of the driver and passengers on-board.
Des continues: “Our drivers have been drawing straws to get behind the wheel of these BR8LEs. Not only is the ride as smooth as you like, but all the added mod cons really make a difference. The air conditioning has gone down a treat with passengers.”
From humble beginnings in 1985 when Des and his wife Theresa started out providing a daily service run from Mountmellick and Portlaoise to Dublin with a 49-seater Bedford 500, Slieve Bloom Coach Tours Ltd / Townlink Express has grown into the midlands’ leading private coach hire operator.
Boasting a luxurious, efficient and state-of-the-art fleet, the family-run business takes care of all your transport requirements.
“We’ve come a long way in 30 years,” smiles Des, who runs the business along with his son John.
“In between the service runs to Dublin in the morning and evening, we did school runs and airport transfers. That old Bedford 500 was never off the road! We’re now running 30 coaches and have up to 30 people working for us at peak times. The customer always comes first with us and we’re here to make their travelling experience a pleasure, each and every time.”
Slieve Bloom’s executive coaches offer air conditioning, WIFI, audio/video facilities, WC facilities and comfortable reclining seats with ample leg room.
Wheelchair accessibility is also standard on most coaches. The company’s dedicated team of professionals will make sure your journey is as comfortable and relaxing as possible. All of the coaches are uniformly branded with the distinctive company logo.
Slieve Bloom Coach Tours Ltd is committed to providing its passengers with the highest safety
standards with each coach fitted with seat belts and the latest safety features. All drivers are fully trained, courteous and professional in every aspect of their job. They undergo regular training in driving practice and health & safety. The fleet is maintained by Des’ other son Paddy O’Connell, who runs Laois Commercials from the same premises in Killeen, Mountmellick, along with an expert team of technicians to ensure maximum performance, efficiency and safety. Paddy served his time as a mechanic with no less a company than JJ Kavanagh in Urlingford, Co. Kilkenny.
Ten of the tour coaches work on behalf of the award-winning destination management company Abbey Ireland & UK, who provide a wide range of group and individual travel services in Ireland and the UK. Thirteen other executive coaches are used for private hire and school transport in Laois, Offaly and Kildare on behalf of Bus Eireann. They are also put to work on Matthews’ Dundalk-Dublin commuter services from time to time.
“We’ve built up a very good relationship with Matthews since 2012 when we did cover work for them during the London Olympics,” John O’Connell says.
“Our coaches are available for hire throughout the year for all occasions no matter how short or far the distance. Day trips, school tours, golf outings, weddings and events, sporting occasions, stag and hen parties, corporate and airport transfers are all catered for.”
The remaining seven vehicles in the fleet are dedicated to the Townlink Express services which provide a crucial service to many residents in the midlands. Townlink operates seven different routes, including Portlaoise-Tullamore (via Mountmellick), Portlaoise-Tullamore (via Portarlington), Portlaoise-Borris-in-Ossory, Tullamore-Mullingar and Kilkenny-Portlaoise.
A business that is clearly going places, Slieve Bloom Coach Tours Ltd / Townlink Express is committed to offering the very best service at exceptional prices.
John concludes by saying: “We’re grateful to our customers for making us what we are today. We’re now striving to take our company to the next level so that we can provide an even better service.”
Slieve Bloom Coach Tours Ltd / Townlink Express
Telephone: 057 8624416
Email: [email protected]
Published in Irish Trucker & Light Commercials magazine, Jan/Feb 2020, Vol 23 No 1