About Carmel Coaches: Our History
Carmel was started in 1984 by Tony Hazell in the village of Northlew, near Okehampton in Devon.
Having worked in insurance for many years, Tony’s lifelong interest in bus and coaches as a hobby turned into a business and livelihood upon purchasing a local coach business from Pop Gay, who had been running local contracts from the village previously before retiring.
Northlew has a history of coach hire dating back to the 1930s.
In 1990 a new larger workshop was constructed in Northlew, on the site of our original garage, completed by our next-door neighbours, Yellands.
In 1992 we started doing foreign tours with Tony Goss Travel. This saw our vehicles across Europe in countries such as Austria, Germany, Holland, Belgium and France. Over the next few years the company became the predominant operator in Okehampton, taking schools from Okehampton and the surrounding area all over the country as well as operating several rural 'shopper' services for local residents in outlying villages.
In September 2006, We developed “Carmel Exeter” A separate fleet of coaches to deliver coach hire to the Exeter area. After purchasing Tedburn Coaches The existing fleet was heavily invested in & modernised opening an avenue for Carmel expand the business further and become more well known in the Exeter & Torbay area.
Signed contracts with National Express, First Group, Just Go! Holidays, & Majestic Tours, to provide coach transport for these large and prestigious customers.
The year of the London 2012 Olympics were exciting times, having a number of vehicles contracted to work in London for the duration of the games transporting sponsors to and fro The Olympic Village. We also provided daily transport for spectators from the South West to The Sailing Events in Weymouth, as well as several other private customers wishing to visit various Olympic events. In September we gained two school contracts in the Plymouth area, allowing us to open a further operating base in the South-West of the County.
In 1986 our first advertised coach holiday to Blackpool took place. This became an annual trip, and since then hundreds of residents from Northlew and Okehampton have joined us on our tour of the illuminations.
It was in the same year that we began a school run service taking pupils from Okehampton to the private schools in Exeter. This service continues today on one of our high-capactiy 70-seat vehicles, taking Children to Exeter School, Maynards and St. Margaret.
In 2001 Crockernwell Motor Company sold out to us, where we acquired one futher vehicle and several other routes locally.
2004 Saw Jean and Alan Robison of Blue Line coaches (North Tawton) retire. 4 Coaches and 3 contracts were bought, which enabled us to increase our share of private hire work from this area of Devon.
In the Autumn of 2009, we moved from our depot at Tedburn St. Mary into larger premises in Marsh Barton, Exeter. This put us closer to the main populous area of Exeter, as well as providing quick access to Exeter’s Train Stations, Airport and A30, A38 & M5 road networks.
An 8-year Park & Ride service, serving staff at Devon County Council commenced in June.
Carmel took over the operation of North Somerset Coaches in Nailsea, near Bristol, rebranding as 'Carmel Bristol' allowing us to offer our coach hire services to new and larger geographical area.
Carmel Coaches are providing transportation for hundreds of different customers; the work varies from taking schools on their day trips out, social groups for their gatherings, wedding guests to and from their venues, and businesses for their conferences, extending to almost any group that requires an economical form of transportation.