Coach operators come together to ask for government support and highlight industry crisis

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Family-owned coach operators across Britain have created a video to raise awareness of the challenges facing the coach industry during the COVID-19 crisis, aimed at winning support from local decision-makers and MPs for the plight of Britain’s coach operators. The video was made in response to the Government’s decison to exclude coach operators from support measures being offered to the leisure sector.

While coach operators have furloughed most staff, they are still faced with bills including finance payments on coaches which remain idle. The video follows last week’s launch of the CPT’s “Back Britain’s Coaches” campaign, calling on the government for support.

Director of Henley-in-Arden-based Johnsons Coach Travel and Chairman of the CPT’s Coach Commission, John Johnson said: “I want to highlight the crisis that this industry faces, and the risk that holidays enjoyed by thousands of customers are not going to be available at a time when they most need them.

“Our customers are looking forward to a time when they can confidently book again, travel to great locations and have exciting adventures and create new and happy memories. Once the country emerges from all this we need a coach industry that is ready to meet the needs and aspirations of our customers. It needs to be in gear and ready to go because our customers have had months of hardship already.”

Other key figures from family-owned operators to add their voice to the message include Kathryn Pulham of Pulhams Coaches, Bourton-on-the-Water; Taf Valley Coaches’ Clive Edwards; Anderson Travel’s Mark Anderson; Kevin Mayne of Maynes of Buckie, Banffshire; Ross Bryans, Bryans of Denny, Stirlingshire; Martin MacPhail of MacPhails of Salsburgh, Lanarkshire; and Steve Whiteway, former Managing Director of Epsom Coaches.

Writing a week after the launch of the Back Britain’s Coaches campaign, CPT’s Coaching Manager Andy Warrender said on the CPT’s blog: “I’m really pleased that there has been so much support for the campaign that we created in collaboration with UK coach operators, with the aim of securing financial support for the coach industry during the coronavirus crisis and raising awareness of the many vital roles coach plays in keeping the UK moving,” he wrote.

“It’s great to see that on Twitter CPT’s followers have been using specially created Twitter images and an official campaign hashtag to help raise awareness of the work we are doing, and our coverage in the trade press has helped us spread the word even further. The CPT team continue to work hard behind the scenes too, to secure support for the 2,500 coach operators in the UK and the 42,000 people they employ. I’d like to say a big thank you to all the operators who provided us with data to help make the case for coach, and let you know that we are in the process of looking at the data to best work out how to put the case for a support package for coach to government.

There are still challenges to overcome. We suffered an unexpected setback earlier in the week when the UK Government announced that they would not support the view that coach operators should be eligible to access the support package for leisure businesses despite the coach industry bringing approximately £6 billion to the economy each year through tourism. This was disappointing news, but the CPT team will continue working with the Local Government Association to understand why this decision has been made, and try to have it reversed.”

Urging operators to support the message, he continued: “We have also raised the issue directly with Transport Minister Baroness Vere but you can help too,” directing readers to the CPT website where a template letter can be found to help raise awareness of the issue.

“I promise you that CPT will continue working on behalf of the industry to make sure the industry’s voice is heard, with the aim to secure support so that once this crisis is over we can work to getting coaches back on the roads,” he concluded.

The video can be found at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyEXi20VtGg&t=43s