The Go-Ahead Group to acquire Eastbourne Sightseeing
- Open-top bus operator to become part of Go-Ahead’s Brighton & Hove Buses
- Deal adds to Go-Ahead’s UK-wide portfolio of scenic bus tours
- Tourist bus route connects with GTR’s Southern Railway services to London
The Go-Ahead Group has agreed a deal to acquire Eastbourne Sightseeing, an operator of scenic bus tours of Eastbourne, Beachy Head, Birling Gap and surrounding areas.
Following the transaction, the business will become part of Go-Ahead’s Brighton & Hove Buses division, expanding the group’s presence in the East Sussex area.
Eastbourne Sightseeing owns nine open-top vehicles, used seasonally to provide popular tours along the seafront, around Eastbourne’s streets and into the South Downs National Park. The business is based at a depot in Ringmer, near Lewes.
The open-top bus tours call at Eastbourne station, which is served by Southern Rail – part of Go-Ahead’s GTR rail network. This will allow customers to catch a train from London to Eastbourne and connect to open-top buses to the South Downs directly using Go-Ahead services.
Brighton & Hove Buses will retain the Eastbourne Sightseeing brand and use its website and marketing expertise to build demand for the tour in the future. Go-Ahead will explore partnership marketing opportunities between Eastbourne Sightseeing and Southern Rail.
Go-Ahead already operates 15 open top bus tours around the UK – including city routes such as Oxford’s City Sightseeing and Newcastle’s Toon Tour; seaside trips including the Clacton Breezer, Scarborough Beachcomber, Bridlington Beachcomber and Needles Breezer, and rural tours such as the New Forest Tours. The open top bus market in Britain is worth an estimated £150 million in revenue annually industry wide.
Ed Wills, Managing Director, Brighton & Hove Buses, said:
“Eastbourne Sightseeing is a thriving operator offering terrific tours in one of the most scenic parts of the south coast. We intend to build on its success, invest in the business and look at opportunities for expansion.”
Go-Ahead has already bought three regional bus companies in 14 months – Dartline in Devon, Southdown in West Sussex and Pulham & Sons in the Cotswolds.
Matt Carney, CEO of The Go-Ahead Group’s bus division, said:
“Go-Ahead is an ambitious company with an eye for expansion in the regional bus industry. We aim to invest in communities across the UK and to grow the popularity of bus travel. I’m delighted to welcome Eastbourne Sightseeing into the Go-Ahead Group.”
David Mulpeter, Managing Director of Seven Sisters Bus & Coach, owner of Eastbourne Sightseeing, said: “I’m delighted to see the Eastbourne Sightseeing service join Brighton & Hove Buses and the wider Go-Ahead family. We’re incredibly proud of the success of this open top route over the last few years and I have every confidence that the team at Brighton & Hove will continue building and developing the service for the future”