CPT region visits Irizar Group
Northern Spain’s beautiful seaside towns and Irizar’s ultra-modern coach factory brought praise from the CPT’s London and South East region members.
The Confederation of Passenger Transport group, led by organiser Karen Tiley, was hosted by the Spanish-based global coachbuilder, and took in a regional tour, great food and cider sampling along with a chance to see how Irizar creates the Integral i6, i4 and PB coaches supplied by Irizar UK.
First stop on the two-day visit was the picturesque port of Getaria, famed for its seafood, followed by a coach tour – aboard an i6, naturally – to take in mountain-top views before descending into the seaside resort of San Sebastian, European Capital of Culture next year.
The second day saw the group of 21, representing 13 coach and bus operators, begin a tour of the Irizar plant in Ormaiztegi in the stunning CREATIO design suite before heading to the production hall. The trip was rounded off by a transfer in Irizar’s i2e electric bus and dinner at a traditional cider house – drinking cider direct from the barrel!
“I must say that I admire the Irizar ethos in the fact that it’s not all about the bottom line, which is also the foundation of our business, albeit on a much smaller scale,” said Ben Jarvis, of Alexcars in Cirencester.
“The electric bus ride as the real icing on the cake of an excellent factory visit,” said Clive King, Business Development Manager for Arriva the Shires & Essex. “Thanks to Irizar for their outstanding hospitality, which was greatly appreciated by the entire party.”
Aled Evans, of Impressions Holidays in Peterborough, was equally impressed: “I must say that the factory visit was without doubt the best factory visit I’ve been on and the hospitality and ‘can do’ attitude of yourselves as well as Irizar Spain is to be commended,” he said.
The group’s leader, Karen Tiley, regional organiser of CPT London and South East, summed up the visit: “The Irizar experience was amazing. Julie, Steve, Ian and Juan were excellent hosts for the two days. I was fascinated to see that the factory team were so engaged; everyone was busy and had pride in what they were building. I guess this is what happens when staff are shareholders in the company! CPT members had a great visit.”
The final word goes to Matthew Arnold, Commercial Manager of Arriva Kent & Surrey, who said: “Irizar were exemplary hosts who had thought of everything and left no room for anyone to feel hungry or de-hydrated…
“The mood of the two days was relaxed and very un-sales like and the tour of the factory allowed us to see a disciplined and motivated workforce turning out a high quality product. What I found especially interesting was the emphasis placed on quality control. By far the best highlight for me was the opportunity to inspect and ride on the i2e fully-electric bus, which is achieving 14/16 hour days and 250km range. As you would expect from Irizar, build quality was excellent even allowing for the fact that the bus we inspected was a production prototype.”