At the latest Trust Board meeting coach trips were discussed in the light of the failure of the coach to arrive for the match at FC United of Manchester.
Whilst this was the first time this has happened over many years the Board still felt it necessary to discuss the best ways to prevent similar occurrences and how we should react if anything like this happened again.
We have been delighted to work with Arthur and Elite Coaches over eleven years and he has given us excellent service for which we are really grateful. Unfortunately he now only has the one coach and felt unable to give guarantees that in unlikely event of another breakdown he would be able to get a replacement coach. He suggested therefore, that we book with alternative companies which have more coaches.
As a result we have booked a coach to Kidderminster Harriers with Vision Coaches.
Again our apologies for the inconvenience caused to people last Sunday.
There will be chance to ask questions about coach travel at the next members’ meeting in February.
A few other points relating to coach hire.
Time of departure of coaches: There are different preferences amongst members as to what time we should arrive at matches. We time our departures to arrive about 90 minutes before kick-off which allows spare time in case there is congestion on the way. We appreciate a few would prefer to arrive earlier but others don’t wish to or indeed to spend large amounts of time at Motorway service stations. As always we aim to create a balance and indeed last Sunday our starting time did allow many of the stranded passengers to reach the match in time by alternative means
Choice of coach companies: Over the last three seasons we have asked for quotes from 13 companies for coaches for the season's matches. Of these only four companies have given us quotes and we have regularly used Elite and Alfa and occasionally Vision. Whilst cost is obviously a major consideration in choosing firms to book with, it is by no means the only reason and such things as flexibility in terms of booking and cancelling coaches at short notice are very important as well
Subsidising coaches: We have run coaches to all but two matches this season. On occasions this has been made possible because of donations from the club (Boston match) or by individuals but on other occasions the Trust has had to cover a loss when the number of bookings has been less than expected (e.g. Chorley match). There are approximately 250 Trust members but only a small proportion use the coach regularly and so it would be unfair to the majority of members to use the money they have helped raised to subsidise all coaches.