Connecting people and places since 1975
Foyle Coaches is a leading family-run bus company which has been providing transportation throughout Ireland since 1975. Based in Redcastle, Co. Donegal and incorporating North West Busways, the company boasts a 20-strong fleet of luxury mini-buses, midi-coaches and coaches.
Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 and Brexit, it’s business as usual for the Inishowen operator which recently took delivery of a new wheelchair accessible Iveco Turas 29-seat Midi Coach and a Mercedes Sprinter 22-seat bus from Brian Noone Ltd in Maynooth, Co. Kildare. This comes after the company also invested in a 2019-registered Mercedes Tourismo 53-seater last year.
“They represent a big investment, especially in the current climate of COVID and Brexit. COVID put paid to our tours for 2020 and most of 2021 – we’re still hopeful that they will be able to resume in September or October – while Brexit has closed off the avenue of being able to import buses from the UK. The import duty is an extra 16% on top of VRT which means it’s no longer feasible for us to buy in the UK.
“Having said that, the majority of vehicles have come from Noone’s. They’ve always been a pleasure to deal with and provide an excellent aftersales service.”
In the absence of group tours as well as airport transfers, sporting events, concerts and weddings, Foyle Coaches / North West Busways has focused on its Local Link and Bus Eireann school transport services. Throughout the pandemic, the company continued to provide Local Link services between Carndonagh and Malin Head four times daily, and Moville and Letterkenny three times daily. It also provides a daily service between Inishowen and Derry four-times daily.
“Our full service continued to operate through Level 5 restrictions for essential journeys, albeit at 25% capacity. This was increased to 50% after May 10 when restrictions were eased,” Bernard explains.
“While the reduced capacities have had a big effect on our profitability, it has been offset somewhat by the fact that we’ve been putting on extra buses for our school routes. The extra buses were needed because of the reduced capacity on school buses. It’s only a temporary measure, but every little helps.”
In a normal summer, Foyle Coaches would have six coaches dedicated to tours throughout Ireland. To this end, the family-business has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with White’s Hotel & Group Tours who offer an extensive range of tours and accommodation to thousands of European and North American visitors to Ireland every year.
From humble beginnings over 45 years ago when the late John McGonagle set up the business with a mini-bus and a hackney, Foyle Coaches has grown into the North-West’s leading private coach hire operator. The company is now run by John’s son Joe who employs 21 staff, including his wife Brenda and brothers Shaun, Bernard, Edward and Derek.
“The business started with my father bringing people to Mass in his hackney car. He then bought a mini-bus and progressed from there to doing school runs,” Joe reveals.
“It increased in size in 2000 when we bought North West Busways and that added six more vehicles to the fleet."
Foyle Coaches can take care of all your transport requirements with its luxurious, efficient and state-of-the-art fleet of MAN, DAF, Iveco and Mercedes vehicles. Its 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 and burgundy and black livery.
The Donegal bus operator 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 at the company’s workshop by an expert team of technicians who ensure maximum performance, efficiency and safety. The workshop has everything from an inspection pit to diagnostic kits and mechanical lifts.
Since the pandemic hit in March 2020, Foyle Coaches has been keeping passengers safe with onboard hand sanitiser dispensers and wipes. Screens have also been installed for driver protection, while each vehicle is cleaned and disinfected after use to practically eliminate the risk of spreading infection.
Asked why Foyle Coaches has such a loyal customer-base, Joe replies: “I think they chose us for the personal touch that we add to our reliable, rapid and value-for-money service. We go the extra mile for our passengers and are proud to serve them.”
A business that continues to go places, Foyle Coaches is dedicated to offering the very best service at very competitive prices. Passengers can rest assured that they will have the ultimate travel experience with Foyle Coaches at the wheel.
Telephone: +353 (0)74 9382116
Fax: +353 (0)74 9382619
Email: [email protected]
Published in Irish Trucker & Light Commercials magazine, August/September 2021, Vol 24 No 5