Volvo Buses


Sable Travel purchases a new Volvo

The Bland family, in association with their current business Sable Travel Ltd of Norfolk, are celebrating their 80th year in business by purchasing their first new coach in 26 years – a Volvo B9R with Plaxton Panther bodywork.

Sable have run an all-Volvo fleet of second hand coaches for many years now. “We haven’t felt the need to buy new as the pre-owned vehicles have proved so reliable,” explained Managing Director, Stephen Bland. “In fact we’ve recently bought a 22 year old Volvo which is one of the best vehicles we have ever run!”

A new contract with Grand UK Holidays, however, meant that a new vehicle was required and Sable felt that the Volvo B9R would fit the bill.

“We like the rear-engine design as it optimises luggage capacity,” said Stephen. “Plus, we’re hoping that the lighter weight construction of the B9R will have a beneficial effect on fuel economy.”

Specified with Volvo’s 9 litre D9B engine rated at 380hp, coupled to the I-shift gearbox, the 12.2m  Volvo B9R combines the driving qualities of the B12B and B12M with the full size, yet lightweight characteristics of the B7R, resulting in an economic, adaptable and safe coach with excellent driving properties.

Standard Volvo safety features include Volvo’s Electronic Braking System (EBS), which combines with all-round disc brakes and Volvo’s VR3250 compact retarder to give a rapid reaction time and shorter stopping distances, as well as Hill Start Aid, Emergency Braking Assistance and Brake Blending.

The 49 seats all have three point belts and individual reading lights while passengers also have the benefit of central demountable toilet, Thermoking climate control system throughout, TV/DVD player, an MP3 compatible CD tuner and PA amplifier with 2 microphones. The high floor arrangement and theatre-style seating configuration enables optimal viewing position for all passengers, making it ideal for touring holidays.

The vehicle was handed over to the family run firm at Volvo Bus and Coach Centre, Loughborough by Volvo’s Regional Coach Sales Manager, Jo Standbridge, in what was a special occasion for the family firm involving four generations.

Stephen explained, “Blands Coaches was started by my grandfather, Reginald Horace Bland, in 1929 and was a large part of my father’s life prior to his retirement. My daughter, Melissa, is now involved with the company and we have also brought along her son, Oliver, as we’d like to think it will all be his one day!” 

The new coach was off to work immediately – taking a party of guests off the Isle of Wight to celebrate another anniversary – 25 years of Grand UK Holidays.

“We’ve always bought Volvo because the vehicles have proved so reliable and we’ve received great customer care from them,” commented Stephen. “I’ve every reason to believe that our latest purchase will live up to expectation so maybe it won’t be another 25 years before the next one!”  

Based in Kings Lynn, Sable’s eight-strong fleet handles a mix of private hire, school runs and contract work in addition to touring on behalf of holiday operators.


5th March 2009

Caption for photograph:

The Bland family of Norfolk have taken delivery of a Volvo B9R with Plaxton Panther bodywork - their first new coach in 26 years for their current business Sable Travel Ltd.