Travel firm's London-style circular bus plan for Doncaster
Doncaster could have a classic London-style bus serving its tourist attractions, if a Doncaster business has its way.
It would take in a circular route around the town centre, potentially along the lines of the old inner circle route that used to link up points around Doncaster town centre back in the 1980s.
And it would also take visitors out to some of the visitor attractions which are spread around the borough.
That is the dream of Tracie Swain and Mark Adams, who have already started the ball rolling towards the ambition.
Last year they set up Marquess Private Executive Hire, a firm providing transport for firms and events across the borough.
It has been a change of direction for both.
Tracie was until recently a head of year at a secondary school in Buckinghamshire. Mark has worked in a number of businesses, ranging from the Doncaster plantworks to taxi firms.
But last year Tracie left her teaching job to join the family firm that they are running, with her son also on the payroll, so she could live in Doncaster full time.
Marquess was set up in March 2017, using a Ford Tourneo eight seater bus. The original plan was to target corporate or airport passengers, rather than conventional taxi work.
Since then they have run up high profile corporate deals which have made them the official staff transfer firm to Hitcahi Rail Doncaster, as well as official gold partners with Doncaster Rovers, doing work for both organisations, as well as weddings and holiday work taking people to airports and sea ports.
But their next expansion plan will see them moving towards tours around Doncaster.
Tracie sees the town through the eyes of someone new to Doncaster, and believes it has much to boast about, and that there is business in taking people to some of its biggest attractions. She wants to work with existing firms to take people to use their facilities, particularly where they are not on bus routes.
They are currently in the process of buying more vehicles for their fleet, and taking on new drivers.
This week, the firm launched its first tourist service, taking visitors to Brodsworth Hall, the English Heritage property located in the countryside in the west of the borough.
Tickets are being sold from the Doncaster tourist information center at the Mansion House, from where the tours leave.
Tracie said: “We have started the first tour now. We strongly believe in promoting the fantastic stuff that is around in Doncaster.
“Our feeling is that there are a lot of coach companies that specialise in taking people out of Doncaster for their holidays. We are wanting to look at a local focus.
“We’ve been talking about this since November, and we’re working very closely with Visit Doncaster, and we are starting the first of the tours with Brodsworth.
“Our idea is that eventually we will be running tours every day, with different themes, for example Friday trips to the Wool Market, followed by fish and chips. Or perhaps Walkers Garden Centre and Rossington Hall for afternoon tea. We’d also like to do places like Conisbrough Castle and the Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
“We are in talks with venues and businesses to find out what their quiet days are, so that we can adopt the tours to fit in with that.
“But there is a longer term aim. So many cities have hop on, hop off buses that constantly circle. Providing something like that for Doncaster is a longer term aim for us.
“We would like to do it with a vintage bus, perhaps a Routemaster or something like that. It would take you around the iconic places like the Minster. The tours are organic and would grow with demand. We’d like to tailor it to groups, if people give us a theme.
“But we know its not going to happen overnight, and it could take time.”
Since moving to Doncaster, Tracie has tried to get involved with the community. She is a governor at the deaf school on Leger Way and a member of the Doncaster Town Centre Business forum, a group which meets at the Danum Hotel on the last Tuesday of every month to discuss common issues affecting all firms in the town centre.
Viewing the town with fresh eyes, Tracie says she can see the appeal of Doncaster, as can her friends and relatives who visit from other parts of the country.
“When people visit, they see that the town has its own shopping centre, independent restaurants, a racecourse and a football ground, plus historical places, all in a small area – they say there is everything here.
“I’ve moved 200 miles to come to Doncaster. I think there are great opportunities here.”