CPT holds ‘constructive’ talks with TfL on London coach parking

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An ongoing dialogue – with the intention of improving the experience of travelling in and out of London for passengers and operators alike – took a positive step last week (May 20) when a high level meeting organised by the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) in conjunction with the London Tourist Coach Operators Association (LTCOA) took place with Transport for London (TfL).

As is increasingly being discussed in this magazine – and of course the wider industry – the issues facing coach operators and drivers entering the capital are being compounded recently, either by the upcoming Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), the creation of the Cycle Superhigways or the loss of coach parking space in order to create the routes. This is obviously on top of such things as planned and emergency roadworks or streets being closed off for events or building work.

The difficulties faced by operators on a day to day basis are causing some companies to consider stopping bringing parties into central London. This would clearly have a significant effect on the economy of the capital.

The meeting was Chaired by Director of Strategy and Planning, Surface Transport, Ben Plowden. Others who took part in the discussion were Lilli Matson, Head of Delivery Planning; Simon Lusby, Senior Strategy and Planning Manager; Ian Lucket, Chairman of CPT’s Coach Commission; Andy Warrender, CPT Coaching Manager; Paul Hockley, Chairman of LTCOA; and Sue Reynolds, Director of Development and Administration at LTCOA.

Speaking after the meeting, Ian Luckett confirmed: “Today’s meeting was extremely useful and enabled a full and frank discussion of the issues. CPT members remain very concerned about the lack of facilities for coaches including parking, set down and pick up points but CPT and LTCOA believe that we have made progress.

“We were very encouraged by the positive approach adopted by TfL, their understanding of our concerns and their desire to move towards seeking solutions wherever practicable. All parties have agreed that similar high level meetings will take place on a regular basis. Operating coaches in London will always be a challenge and the pressures on all concerned are enormous.

“We all recognise and accept that London’s streets were never built to cater for such large vehicles, but equally the capital should not become a no-go area for coaches and the benefits they bring. By constructive dialogue with TfL, LTCOA and other stakeholders CPT remains confident that we can achieve a better deal for coach operators.”