Birmingham Motor Traction - Former Operations - Zak's


Zak's Bus and Coach Services was founded in Great Barr by Kevin Fazakarley, a former taxi operator, in 1978, following a brief venture into the operation of Spanish express coach holidays. The company initially operated coaches and minibuses on social service contracts, before moving into local bus operation following deregulation, having won the Centro contract to operate evening journeys on service 52, between Perry Beeches and Birmingham City Centre, and deciding to add its own commercial daytime service on that route. The company expanded its bus operations over the next few years to cover tendered services throughout the West Midlands, and into Staffordshire and Worcestershire, along with a number of additional commercial services, including the North Lichfield circular services abandoned by Arriva Midlands and Choice Travel, and the Birmingham to Tamworth commuter express service. The coaching side of the business was also upgraded and expanded following the award of journeys on the National Express Coventry and Shewsbury to London services, and the acquisition of the coaching functions of the Birmingham Coach Company, Choice Travel and Chase Coaches.

In 2005, both Kevin Fazakarley and his wife Margaret died. The business was reconstituted from the original partnership to a limited company, Zak's Bus and Coach Services Ltd, and acquired from the family by its senior management.

The Company operated from an extensive site at Shady Lane in Great Barr, and was amongst the first operators of low floor vehicles in the West Midlands, having taken delivery of four Mini Pointer Darts in 2001. The bus fleet was almost 100% accessible by 2005. In 2007, the business was sold to Rotala subsidiary, Flights Hallmark Ltd, and although the original plan was to transfer the assets and operations to Flights Hallmark, contract issues instead necessitated the continuation with the Zak's company, the name being legally changed during 2008 to Central Connect Ltd.

The new operation mothballed the Shady Lane premises, relocating the whole operation to the Long Acre, Aston depot of Flights Hallmark, merging with an existing Centro contracted service previously awarded to Flights. At the end of 2007, Zak's took over the operations, and certain of the assets, of Birmingham Motor Traction Ltd, and Birmingham Motor Traction (North) Ltd, a small company operated by a former manager of Zak's, and based until the takeover at the Zak's premises. During 2008, Rotala acquired North Birmingham Busways, and a gradual process of integration with the Central Connect operation began, completely replacing all traces of the constituent companies' previous identities.

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