Phoenix Bussing on the rise as M6toll hits right note for rockstar passengers
Phoenix Bussing has been supplying sleeper buses to the music industry since 1988. It’s successfully grown from four converted buses (built by the founding members in a tiny garage in the middle of the New Forest) to a fleet of 41 purpose-built, 45ft long double-deckers.
Sean Gerrard, Transport Co-Ordinator at Phoenix Bussing, discusses how the smoothness of the M6toll road surface and the seamless, hassle, free journeys it provides is music to the ears of both their clientele and their driving team.
With a client list that reads like a who’s who of rock’n’roll royalty - Adele, Lady GaGa, Elton John, The Who to name but a few – Phoenix Bussing know the importance of being a smooth operator when driving music megastars around on their latest tour. When it comes to a ticket to ride, the M6toll is the road of choice for Phoenix Bussing and its clients - with the smoothness of the road topping the chart as the key reason for using it.
Sean, who has worked as both a driver and planner with Phoenix Bussing, said: “For the artists we drive around on tour, a smooth and uninterrupted journey is what they expect from us as a service and being able to enjoy their journey without disruption is really important to them.
“The tour bus is their secure and discreet environment, so if they are sleeping or relaxing after a gig, they don’t want to be woken up or disrupted unexpectedly by hitting a pothole or bump in the road. With the M6toll road surface being so smooth, we don’t get that and it’s one of the key reasons why we use it.”
The Phoenix Bussing driving team enjoy the M6toll and it was a driver’s recommendation that influenced the decision to first start using the road.
Sean said: “It was one of our drivers who first petitioned the company to use the M6toll. He was a big advocate of the road and put forward a very persuasive case to the management team for using it.
“Our drivers are highly experienced and very professional, so when they recommend something like the M6toll, we listen to them. The drivers enjoy the smooth road surface, but they also like the M6toll because it takes them half an hour to get through the Midlands, rather than the two hours they might spend in congested traffic on the M6.
“Our drivers are not under the same time pressures faced by hauliers and delivery companies, but they do have some time constraints. They have to check into the hotel or get to the venue on time, so using the M6toll helps to ease those time pressures.”
Based on various research, including the recently commissioned *Economic Benefits Survey, it’s been shown that the M6toll can generate up to a 41% journey time saving during peak hours. As companies face increasing uncertainty and rising costs, critical decisions that help achieve time efficiencies and savings, can be crucial in ensuring business profitability. In the case of Phoenix Bussing, they are already taking advantage of the time efficiencies offered by the M6toll and their business is benefiting as a result of this.
Alongside the smooth road surface, time efficiencies and avoiding congestion, another aspect of the M6toll enjoyed by Phoenix Bussing and its rock’n’roll passengers is the Norton Canes service station.
Sean said: “We make regular stops at Norton Canes and most of the artists really like it. You would be surprised at the people you might see in the middle of the night!
“I can’t say who, as that would break the unwritten law of our industry - what goes on tour, stays on tour. However, if you were to ask me whether there was a chance you might see Lady GaGa or someone similar late at night popping into Norton Canes for a drink and a bite to eat, I might say ‘you never know’!”
With the full Phoenix Bussing UK fleet all using the M6toll, there are also plans for their sister company, based in Austria, to start using the road.
Sean adds: “We are talking with our sister company about getting their full 70-vehicle fleet regularly using the M6toll. It means we would have the complete group fleet using the M6toll, which fits with our long-term strategy to keep using it, given all the benefits the road provides to us.
“As a former tour driver, I really appreciate the road surface and the time efficiencies but also the M6toll is just a really pleasurable road to drive on. It’s a very reliable and hassle-free route and that’s why it will continue to be such an integral part of our tour planning.”
“Our drivers prefer the M6toll to other routes because of the driving experience. It’s reliable, hassle free and saves them vital time on their journey.”
Surjit Ram, APC Overnight's Head of Transport
“The operational efficiency is absolutely vital to us and is the most compelling reason I could give to another business for using the M6toll.”
Pip Bains, Culina's Fleet Compliance Director
“The M6toll saves us time, saves us fuel, and saves our drivers a lot of unnecessary stress. These are savings we would not make if we used more congested local routes.”
Chris Paul, EH Smith’s Transport Compliance Manager
“The reliability of the M6toll gives us the edge over our competitors. It takes out the time sat idle in traffic and allows us to get to our customers on time.”
Craig Bickley, Maritime General Manager
“Using the M6toll has helped the business grow by saving time, meaning we can get another load in a day which is five loads a week and that all adds up.”
Mike Ponsonby, owner of M A Ponsonby
“The M6toll cuts out some of the unknown, speeds up our journey times and saves on drivers hours. All these benefits far outweigh the costs of having to use it.”
Guy Moore, pladis' Transport Operations Manager
"The M6toll streamlines everything and makes it so much easier and quicker to get our products to where they need to go.”
Joe Sweeney, Huntapac Produce Ltd’s Fleet and Workshop Manager
"For us, efficiency is key to our business and the M6toll helps us embed further efficiencies.”
Lee Anderson, Menzies Distribution’s Transport and Assets Manager
"As we move forward as a business, I can only see more use of the M6toll.”
Clare Lynch, Friel Construction’s Sustainability Co-ordinator
"It was one of our drivers who first petitioned the company to use the M6toll. He was a big advocate of the road.”
Sean Gerrard, Phoenix Bussing’s Transport Co-ordinator
"The M6toll cuts out the congestion hot spots on routes such as the M6, A5 or A38.”
Carlson Vehicle Transfer Ltd
Andy Hammond, Carlson Vehicle Transfer Ltd’s Transport Operations Manager
"Our drivers love the M6toll. They see no disadvantages to using it, because it’s a stress-free drive.”
Steve Perry, Perry Transport