Expansion continues at Callinan Coaches
One of the leading coach hire companies in the country, Callinan Coaches now has 120 vehicles in its fleet. Irish Trucker touched base with Office Manager Fiona O’Flaherty to hear all about the company – from the latest additions to its impressive fleet to the overall state of business at the moment.
Some 27 years since its establishment and the expansion continues at Callinan Coaches, which today operates from 5 bases across the country with 3 in Galway, 1 in Dublin and another in Limerick.
Business nowadays is flourishing for the company which offers top-class coaching solutions on both the national and and international stage.
Callinan Coaches’ currently employs close to 200 full-time and part time staff. Now with a fleet of 120 made up of coaches and double deckers.
Irish Trucker caught up with company Office Manager Fiona O’Flaherty to find out more about the latest additions to its fleet and the challenges it was presented with throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The primary base is still here in Claregalway with the addition of a workshop in Galway City where our mechanics conduct all repairs and inspections out of. We also have bases in Dublin and Limerick as well,” she outlined.
“We are fortunate that business is in a good place after the pandemic , however, when Covid initially hit, it meant like many other coach operators across the country majority of work ceased for the first few months (in Spring 2020). After a few weeks of business being brought to a complete halt a few services that we operate were deemed essential and were able to start back up again.”
“An example of this is a Park & Ride service that we operate for a large construction project in the East of the Country. Construction stopped for a few weeks but once it was deemed essential it meant that we needed to increase our fleet allocated to the Park & Ride due to the decrease in passenger capacity allowed onboard due to government guidelines brought in at the time.”
Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the government lockdowns which were enforced to try and combat the virus, impacted businesses nationwide and the transport sector was hit as hard as most.
For Callinan Coaches, private bus runs were brought to a halt practically overnight and, as a fully-licensed coach service operator that provides a wide range of luxury solutions, including scheduled services, guided tours, transfers and corporate travel, it was something which hit hard at the time.
Now, with the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, things are returning to normal for the company which is still headed up by its original founder Tommy Callinan to this day.
“Since the company first began we have seen our fleet grow massively overtime. In March 1995 Tommy purchased his first coach to provide a daily shuttle service from Rosaveal. Today, the fleet consists of 120 buses made up of coaches and double deckers to carry out the workload that we are lucky to have today.” said Fiona.
“So far in 2022 we have 16 new additions to our fleet, including 2 Vanhool Altanos and 14 new Vanhool EX 16s which were delivered by Cronin’s in Cork.”
All of the coaches at Callinan Coaches are of the Van Hool NV brand – a coachbuilder and manufacturer of buses, coaches, trolleybuses, and trailers which is headquartered in Belgium.
Callinan Coaches ensures to invest in a fresh and modern fleet on an annual basis and the addition of 16 new vehicles underlines its commitment to keeping the highest-possible service land quality levels across all routes and all of the services provided.
The on-going yearly investment also makes sure that the business offers its customers some of the most luxurious in the country when it comes to their travel.
All of the Executive Coaches at Callinan Coaches are equipped with air-conditioning, restrooms, Wi-Fi, 220 Volt Sockets and USB Ports, DVD Player, Individual Reading Lights, Reclining Seats and Foot Rests for the convenience of our passengers.
The bases in Galway and Dublin are very much ideally situated for services across Ireland, the United Kingdom and internationally and the company will consistently strive to make customers the priority, aiming to exceed their expectations by delivering a comfortable, safe and luxurious service every time.
For many years, Callinan Coaches has been a tour provider for CIE Tours, who provide a variety of high quality coach tour options for international visitors into Ireland showcasing the natural beauty of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. The 14 new Vanhool EX16’s that Callinan’s have acquired have been designated to their CIE Tours fleet in order to provide the highest quality coaches and luxurious service that CIE Tours guarantee their customers.
In 2009, Callinan Coaches became the operator for Citylink, which makes up a large percentage of the company’s daily activities. You will see Callinan Coaches fleet wrapped in the distinctive blue and yellow livery of Citylink across major cities, towns and airports.
The routes covered are Galway–Dublin Airport, Limerick–Dublin Airport, Galway–Cork Airport and Galway-Clifden, while the company also provides direct express services to and from Dublin city centre as well as Dublin Airport.
A Citylink express journey from Galway to Dublin Airport takes just three hours, while the Eireagle express can get passengers to their airport terminal in just two-and-a-half hours.
All of that considered, the burning question is what has been the secret to the continued success of Callinan Coaches over these past 27 years?
How has a small start-up grown into a now renowned and thriving business with 120 buses in its fleet and close to 200 staff on its books.
For Fiona, who joined the team in Kiniska six years ago, she herself feels much of what’s behind the longevity of the business is the fact that it is very much trusted by its customers to deliver a high quality service every time and that all comes down to the staff of the family-run business.
“Tommy is a hardworker and strives for excellence throughout every element of the business, you will find Tommy anywhere from the office to driving a bus, he is still as involved today as he was back in 1995! However, the main secret to the success of the business is the staff that we are fortunate to have, with many staff members being here for over a decade – it is the Drivers, the Mechanics, the Cleaners, the Operations Team, the Office Staff that make Callinan Coaches what it is today. No one person can take the credit, it is and always has been a team effort. Everyone plays an equal important part of delivering the high quality service that Callinan Coaches is known for consistently providing.” she said.
“The Coaches in our fleet are top of the line, with the fleet constantly being upgraded on a yearly basis to ensure luxury and a premium service is provided to our customers. The company has won multiple awards over the years, including the Fleet Health & Safety Award at the 2020 Fleet Transport Awards, safety is a priority for Callinan Coaches with our mechanics conducting monthly safety checks on our vehicles to ensure the safety of our passengers and our drivers.”
Soon enough, Callinan Coaches will be adding nine more Vanhool EX16 coaches to the fleet as the expansion continues at the company.
Looking towards the coming months, Fiona says that the main hope will be to see a dip in the current fuel prices which have gone through the roof as of late.
“In the recent months we have seen the price of diesel spike rapidly, this has effected the cost incurred on the business massively with the cost of a load nearly doubling in price. All we can hope is that we will see the price of diesel decrease in the coming months. Diesel prices aside and on a more positive note, I hope to see the company successfully continue to expand its fleet and workload in the future. ” she stated.
First published in Irish Trucker magazine Vol 25 No 4, August/September 2022