phil hitchen of belle vue manchester, right, with anthony winson, chairman of the guild of british coach operators landscape

Stockport-based Belle Vue Manchester has gained membership of an elite body of coach operators after passing an independent audit of its operations with flying colours.

Membership of the Guild of British Coach Operators is only open to companies that attain a 100 per cent rating in their inspection, carried out by the independent firm Lloyd Morgan Group. The audit covers quality standards of customer service, including punctuality and having 24-hour emergency back-up, as well as areas such as employee training and development, fleet safety and maintenance, road risk and safety management, regulatory compliance and financial stability. Due to its exacting standards, the Guild has an elite membership of just 20 companies nationwide with a proven pedigree.

Phil Hitchen, managing director of Belle Vue, said gaining membership of the guild at the first time of asking was a feather in the cap for the company. He added: “It’s a prestigious organisation to join, but we don’t see it as a glorified badge. We have good systems and processes across the business, and we are committed to providing the highest quality of service to our passengers and the best possible environment in which our team can develop their skills and careers. Joining the guild will enable us to share best practice with our industry peers and continue to elevate our standards and those of other leading operators.”

The Guild’s members share a quality ethos and meet regularly to provide mutual advice and guidance, including specialist groups for training, engineering and operations. Guild chairman Anthony Winson said: “We are delighted to welcome Belle Vue to Guild membership, having passed our audit process with flying colours. As a hugely-respected operator, we are confident Phil Hitchen and the Belle Vue team will have much to gain from joining, as will we from their undoubted reputation and expertise within the coach industry.”

Award-winning Belle Vue has a diverse and growing fleet which carries two million passengers a year across the UK and Europe. The company provides branded transport to a wide customer base, serving the education and corporate sectors, private hire and touring groups, as well as express inter-city services after teaming up with fast-growing coach network FlixBus earlier this year to launch daily links between Manchester and locations across the north, including Leeds and Newcastle upon Tyne. Belle Vue is currently looking to expand its partnership with FlixBus to other routes to and from Manchester.

For more information on Belle Vue Manchester, visit

For more information on the Guild of British Coach Operators, visit

PHOTO: Phil Hitchen with Anthony Winson.

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