Johnson Bros (Tours) puts on the style with headturning Irizars
Outstanding kerb appeal has seen international coach operator Johnson Bros (Tours) Ltd refresh its 150-stong fleet with two new Irizar Integral coaches: an i6 and an i6S.
The company, which has been established for 70 years, has an incredibly diverse portfolio of offerings, including coach hire, schools’ services, and tours and holidays which are operated both on its own account and on behalf of third-parties.
Operations Director Lee Johnson is the third generation of his family to be involved in running the company, which is headquartered in Worksop.
He says the decision to go with Irizar reflects today’s ultra-competitive market for coaching services.
“Coach passengers are increasingly discerning now,” he points out. “The quality even of service buses has increased in recent years, and bus passengers get vehicles with comfortable leather seating and USB charging facilities, for example. Expectations are going up all round.
“This means that coach operators have to work extra hard to get the wow factor. Additionally, on work like city-breaks to destinations like Paris, we are now competing against cheap air travel.
“And that’s why we’ve chosen Irizar Integrals. There’s nothing else on the market with the kerb appeal of an Irizar: inside and out they stand out against the competition. There’s the ‘wow factor’ when you first see one coming around the corner: it’s unequalled as a head-turner.
“From an engineering point of view: our workshops love them. Even if you put them up against a coach from another manufacturer which uses the same engines and transmissions, the Irizar Integral is easier to work on.”
Both of Johnson Bros’ new coaches feature the same driveline: an economical 369 hp DAF MX-11 271 engine driving a ZF EcoLife automatic transmission.
“We go for the full auto because, while the main driver of a coach might well get better results with an automated manual, anyone can jump in and operate the push-button EcoLife transmission without familiarisation,” Lee Johnson reports. “That’s important for us because we’ve got a varied fleet and drivers have to switch from one coach to another. A standardised transmission makes that easier.”
Johnson Bros’ I6S is a 12.9 m with 53 i6 Plus seats. Driver and guide seats are finished in leather, and there is central sunken toilet and a drinks machine.
The i6 is a 10.8 m 38-seater with rear-mounted toilet. Passengers enjoy seatback tables and magazine holders.
Both coaches are equipped with Actia video and Bosch audio systems, three-point seat belts and reversing cameras and alarms. They have replaced two older coaches on the fleet, and Johnson Bros expects to keep them for five to six years.