A coach hire firm owned and run by two generations of a north London Irish family has been awarded the industry’s highest honour by its peers.
Golden Boy Coaches won the coveted RouteONE Coach Operator of the Year Award for the highest standards of customer service, employee investment, fleet presentation and compliance.
The Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire firm was started in the late 1960s by Donegal man Liam McIntyre and then taken on and developed by his brother, Terry.
Terry, the eldest of 17 children of a Donegal stationmaster and his wife, came to London like so many of his generation in the late 1950s.
By the time of his retirement in 2004 he had built up the family coach business with the help of his daughter and son, Geraldine and Terry, who – having entered the business while still at school some thirty years ago – run it today.
“Although dad retired in 2004 he used to come into the office all the time and even on the day he died last year (aged 79) he was ringing in to the office,” said Geraldine.
At the prize giving, hosted by TV journalist Steph McGovern and impressionist Jon Culshaw, the judges said the company put a strong focus on vehicle investment, maintenance, staff conditions and training as the route to delivering excellence for its customers”.
“What’s more its policy of standing firm on hire rates rather than compromising quality is delivering rewards,” said the judges.
Today the company, which started with just one coach, has two depots and 40 coaches – many of which cost a minimum of £330,000 each – and includes Tesco head office as its regular contract customers.
“We’re in Broxbourne but as a family we grew up in Enfield and Manor House, typical north London Irish, proud of our Irish, Donegal, roots,” said Geraldine.
“We’re pretty diverse, we have about 50 per cent contract hire, and we work with a lot of schools, the University of the Third Age, sports clubs and businesses around the area of Cheshunt, Welwyn and Hatfield. We’ve a very high profile fleet
“The only business we won’t do is night clubs and football supporters – and that’s from experience,” she said.
The company’s coaches can be seen in Italy, Spain and across Europe and although Golden Boy is not a travel agent or package operator it does work with some as coach travel – especially the bespoke tours – is becoming more popular.
“We have seen, in the industry, a change in perception of coach travel where once it would have been seen as a utility vehicle that goes from A to B but because of investment that has changed. A lot of modern coaches start at £330,000 and are quite luxurious with operators putting on some lovely trips. Their customers are fed up being messed around at airports and by airlines and find coach holidays much more attractive. It is no longer the ‘buck and spade’ brigade in which coach trips were associated with day trips to the seaside,” said Geraldine.
“We’re very proud of where this started and where it got to especially as our dad came here in the 1950s with nothing,” she said.
More info at www.goldenboy.co.uk