Jacobus Coaches synonymous with service and comfort 



The passenger has always been king at Jacobus Coaches, who have been setting the highest standards for 20 years and counting when it comes to luxury bus and coach transportation. We headed to Allenwood South in County Kildare and caught up with hands-on owners Jackie and Michael O’Kelly to find out more. 

It won’t come as a surprise to anybody familiar with the exceptional service levels consistently delivered by Jacobus Coaches to learn that the in-demand, family-run, passenger-focused coach and bus operator has been shortlisted as Passenger Transport Company of the Year at the upcoming Irish Logistics & Transport Awards 2024. 

Major industry awards are nothing new to County Kildare headquartered Jacobus Coaches, who have established themselves as one of the premier private bus and coach hire companies in the country since setting out on their journey two decades ago. 

But the most accurate validation of the fantastic services invariably provided across the full range of bus and coach transportation lies in the high levels of customer satisfaction recorded on a daily basis, resulting in extraordinary levels of repeat business and recommendations. 

A modern, versatile fleet of immaculately-maintained and –presented vehicles is at the heart of the business, operated by a skilled and experienced 19-strong team of friendly, professional drivers dedicated to making every journey a dependable, comfortable and safe one. 

Thus, Jacobus Coaches excel at providing a complete range of executive transportation services covering everything from coach tours, private coach hire and college and school trips to airport transfers, sports events, concerts and day trips as well as everything and anything in between. 

Regarding the prestigious Passenger Transport Company of the Year nomination at the forthcoming 2024 Irish Logistics & Transport Awards, Michael O’Kelly, who runs the business alongside his wife Jackie, notes: “It’s always nice to be nominated for or to win these awards. We have been fortunate enough to have picked up quite a few awards over the years and it’s always great to get them. You can post it on your website and your Facebook page and the staff are always delighted. It’s recognition for them and of the fantastic work they are doing first and foremost.” 

Michael had 14 years’ experience driving for Bus Eireann before deciding to team up with Jackie 20 years ago, after she set up Jacobus Coaches: “It was all down to Jackie,” he reflects. “She started a run on her own and I left Bus Eireann and went in with her.” 

The O’Kellys have never looked back and their immeasurable investment of energy, vision and expertise has helped them gradually develop Jacobus Coaches’ reputation as the premier executive coach transport provider not just in Kildare but in all of Leinster and beyond. As no stone is left unturned to guarantee unbeatable passenger service, the simple fact is you can’t get better! 

“We started off with a couple of buses and built it up year on year. We now have a very modern fleet of 19 vehicles covering tour work, executive coach hire and VIP transfers, sports events including football and horse racing – we did Leopardstown last year and had groups coming in from England for that – airport transport and school runs. The school runs are a big part of it – we have 15 school runs for Bus Eireann and some Local Link work as well.” 

The modern fleet – which includes an array of 191, 181 and 161 reg coaches to complement more recent additions and some slightly older models - is constantly being replenished and expanded to ensure that the highest standards of customer service are always achieved. 

New 53-seater and 16-seater coaches were added at the start of 2023 and Jackie and Michael are currently discussing the next new addition for 2024, which will be either another 16-seater or a 33-seater. 

“It’s not always easy to decide which one to go for but you have to make sure you get these decisions right,” notes Michael. “The fleet at the moment runs from seven-seaters up to 55. “The new 53-seater Mercedes Tourismo which we got last year for luxury travel has been a great addition. It is wheelchair-friendly and has all the latest comforts such as free Wi-Fi, toilets, air conditioning, etc. 

“We had an American football party who booked that coach when they came over last year and they were so impressed that, as soon as they left Ireland, they booked it again for this year, along with two more coaches over a two-week period. They were delighted with the service they received and they wanted to work with us again. We get that a lot and it shows how important service is in this line of work.” 

Is service the key attribute in coach hire? “Absolutely, 100 per cent. And that applies right across the board from daily school runs to executive trips. You apply the highest standards to every journey. We have three coaches booked in from April to June for when the cruise ships are coming into Dun Laoghaire and we also do a lot of trips up to Belfast, to the Titanic Experience and also to the Giant’s Causeway. 

“Image is extremely important and we supply uniforms to our team to create the right impression. All our drivers wear shirts, ties and blazers and the coaches themselves are washed and cleaned regularly and professionally presented at all times. 

“During the school mid-term breaks, a local valeting company here in Allenwood, Retro Valeting and Detailing, takes all the smaller coaches and minibuses and valets them from the roof right down to the floor and gives them back to us looking like brand new. Myself and Jackie and our son Aaron clean the interiors on Saturdays, too. We make sure all the vehicles are fresh and clean all the time.” 

Jacobus Coaches is a traditional family business. Jackie and Michael run the office and also provide cover for drivers. Aaron drives full time and their daughter Sophie helps out at weekends with paperwork and compliance, including following all environment guidelines, which results in a spotlessly-clean yard, in keeping with the immaculate Jacobus Coaches brand. 

Jackie is particularly proud of the fact that no fewer than six of Jacobus Coaches’ 19 driver are women – a ratio surely unmatched by any other operator in the industry. “We encourage women to come into the industry and get involved. We find them to be extremely reliable and we do try to recruit as many women drivers as we can. Women in transport is massive to us and we will continue to do everything we can to promote this.” 

Due to their meticulous approach to passenger comfort and service, it’s little wonder that Jacobus Coaches has built up a legion of regular customers not just in Ireland but also from America, the UK and indeed other countries. “Our staff are excellent and their role in our success cannot be over-estimated,” says Michael. “They are all vastly experienced and many of them have worked as executive coach drivers with other companies but decided to come to us. 

“Drivers like to join our team because we are flexible with drivers working hours, the great reputation of our company and they are always impressed when they see our fleet. We treat all our drivers as family and make sure they are all happy and feel at home. This results in very happy staff who are happy in their work and our customers always tell us that they are delighted with the service they get from our drivers.” 

Customers keep going back to Jacobus Coaches because they know they can rely on them to turn up and provide a professional, courteous and enjoyable service. Jackie and Michael are completely dedicated to continuing to provide exceptional service levels and their commitment to the local community is reflected in their wide-ranging sponsorship of local events and teams, including football jerseys for the three local schools’ teams. 

First published in Irish Trucker magazine March/April 2024, Vol 27-1