Central Connect

Central Connect was the first Rotala owned company to run bus services in Redditch when they successfully won the contract to operate many of the journeys on the service 350 from Redditch to Worcester. The actual Central Conect buisness started life as Zak's Bus and Coach Ltd.

Zak’s was founded by the late Kevin Fazakarley in 1978 and was based in Great Barr, in North Birmingham. The Company name being Kevin’s nick name. Operations started with general coach services and special needs school transport running on behalf of Birmingham City Council. The company expanded into operating larger vehicles when the company relocated to an industrial unit just off Shady Lane in Great Barr.

Zak’s unusually in that it started local bus operations in 1992 with a Sunday only service. The company took over operation of service 52 from Birmingham City Centre to Great Barr on a commercial basis. Kevin Fazakarley was keen to test the water before going into bus services in a bigger way. The company then managed to expand their bus operations by winning Centro subsidised bus contracts.

Later the company expanded into both Staffordshire and Worcestershire by winning further contracts. The fleet soon expanded with many Dennis Dart low floor vehicles being acquired. The Company upgraded its ticket system to the Wayfarer TGX150 system during 2002.

Unfortunately, Kevin Fazakarley died suddenly in October 2003 after suffering a heart attack at Stanstead Airport doing what he enjoyed driving a coach. He was operating a rail replacement service for Central Trains. In September 2005, Zak’s Bus & Coach Services Ltd was acquired by the Company’s Directors, Matt Lawton and Chris Hart. Shortly after, in October 2005 the Company acquired the private hire and contract coach operations of the Birmingham Coach Company, and these services were provided under the name of Birmingham Coach Services, using several coaches acquired specifically for that purpose. The Company was further expanded in March 2006, with the addition of the coaching division of Chase Coaches Ltd, bringing the Company’s sphere of operations into the South Staffordshire area. On 19th October 2006 Zak’s Bus and Coach Services Ltd. was acquired by Rotala Group plc. Rotala already owned the Flights Hallmark coaching business that is based in Nechalls in Birmingham on the site of what was formerly the Aston railway locomotive shed. From that date all of the bus operations of both companies started trading as Central Connect though many vehicles still carried the Zak's blue and white livery for a number of years.

From 24th December 2006 Rotala purchased the operations of Birmingham Motor Traction Ltd. and Birmingham Motor Traction (North) Ltd, much of which were Centro subsidised bus services. Following re-tendering Central Connect were successful in winning the contract for the daytime operation on service 350 between Redditch and Worcester from Monday 26th February 2007. This had been operated by Harding's Coaches. The operation of the service 350 was transferred within the Rotala Group to the Diamond Bus from 2nd August 2008.