Souter launches Polish coach network

Souter launches Polish coach network Souter launches Polish coach network
Souter Investments, set up by Stagecoach chief executive Brian Souter, is launching an intercity express coach business in Poland serving the country’s biggest cities and four European capitals. PolskiBus.com will run eight routes serving 16 Pish cities as well as Berlin, Bratislava, Prague and Vienna from a hub in Warsaw. The services start on 19 June and will be operated by 18 orange-liveried tri-axle Van Hool Altano TD921 70-seat coaches. The new business will create around 100 jobs.

PolskiBus.com is part of Souter Investments Poland which is headed by Roger Bowker, who has previously worked for Stagecoach in London, Sweden and the USA before retiring in 2006. Following the successful megabus.com model, fares will start from just 1 zloty (25p) plus 1 zloty booking fee and include free wi-fi access.

Andy Macfie, chief executive of Souter Investments, explains the Polish move: “Poland is a market we have been monitoring for some time and we have been attracted by its high growth economy, strong work ethic and its increasingly affluent population. PolskiBus.com is our second deal in Poland, following our recent investment in the Pure Poland health and fitness business.

“PolskiBus.com is an example of an investment where our transport expertise, combined with excellent local management and our pool of experienced transport consultants can add significant value. The model is based on successful and fast-growing transport businesses operating in the UK, USA and Canada, adapted for the Polish market.”

PolskiBus.com adds to Souter Investments’ growing portfolio of transport-related assets which include majority stakes in the Fullers Group, Mana Coach Holdings and Howick and Eastern Bus businesses in New Zealand, and investments in Alexander Dennis and bio-fuel producer Argent Energy. Souter Investments is part of a consortium which recently agreed to acquire Istanbul Deniz Otobuslen, the Istanbul ferry business which operates 52 vessels.