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£2.3m investment in luxury coach upgrade for Inverness firm D&E Coaches to help boost tourism

By Rachel Smart

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New D&E Coaches
New D&E Coaches

The first of three new luxury coaches have been delivered to an Inverness operator which is upgrading its fleet in a £2.3 million investment.

D&E Coaches will eventually have seven of the state-of-the-art low emissions vehicles, the initial trio of 57-seater Van Hool vehicles costing almost £1 million.

Managing director Donald Mathieson said: “It’s a sign of our confidence in the market going forward.

“We’re not yet at pre-pandemic levels of business but we’re certainly heading in the right direction.

“This major investment is aimed at enhancing our offering as the north’s largest private hire provider – with a particular emphasis on bringing tourists to the Highlands.

“We’re delighted to take delivery of these coaches and have pressed the button on confirming orders for a further four which will arrive in Inverness by the end of the year.”

The new coaches are of the latest Euro 6 emissions standard, pushing the boundaries of technology to produce ever-low levels of exhaust pollutants.

New D&E Coaches
New D&E Coaches

“The European Union describes Euro 6 as the cleanest coaches in history, so it’s pleasing to be able to make this commitment to enhance D&E,” Mr Mathieson said. “We’re certainly committed to pursuing this green agenda and doing our bit to protect the Highland environment. In addition, our new vehicles comply with new stringent Public Sector Vehicle Accessibility Requirements (PSVAR), which significantly enhances our ability to be wheelchair-friendly. We have recruited 10 new drivers this year and are also seeking to add to our cleaning staff, so we’re investing in people as well as coaches.”

The return of cruise passengers is gaining momentum for the company, with coaches meeting liners at Skye, Ullapool and Fort William in recent days, for trips to the likes of Culloden Battlefield and Loch Ness.

“It’s good for the Inverness and Highland economy for us to be able to take US and European visitors from the cruise liners to spend in the area on attractions, gifts and food after Covid-19 brought that business to an almost overnight halt a couple of years ago,” Mr Mathieson said.

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