New voice for coaches

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Shortly before Christmas, the RHA announced details of its forthcoming new membership option for coach operators. Jonathan Welch looks at what the RHA intends to offer the industry

There has been some degree of dissent in the coach sector at the way it has been treated during the coronavirus pandemic, and some have voiced dissatisfaction at what they see as lack of representation from existing trade bodies. This manifested itself early on in the pandemic with events such as Honk for Hope, and more latterly, campaigns such as Wish You Could Hear, lead by Paul Coates and Ian McCarron of specialist insurance broker McCarron Coates, which set out to add weight to existing voices.

In a move which some may see as a surprise, the RHA, which has a long history of representing other road transport sectors, has announced that it is to introduce a specialist RHA Coaches membership which it hopes will appeal to members across the industry. Richard Bamber, Managing Partner of Runcorn-based of Anthony’s Travel was one of a number of people to express dissatisfaction, which led to him leaving his role with the CPT in late 2020.

Speaking to CBW, Richard suggested that he felt the direction the CPT was taking was the opposite of what its regional conferences were seeing, and said it didn’t sit well with him. Unsurprisingly, Richard has been one of those involved with RHA Coaches from the beginning, having been in early talks with the Association about the way forward.

“The RHA was planning to get involved with coaches anyway,” Richard said, highlighting that it does not just cover the traditional haulage sectors, but has a number of specialist divisions representing groups of members. He also highlighted the structure of the RHA, which he called ‘quite refreshing,’ and its ’stronger lobbying power.’ Nonetheless, Richard also stressed that the move is not intended as a sign of disrespect towards the work done by the CPT, which he said was aware of the issues raised by members and had been working to solve them.

Anthony’s Travel Managing Partner Richard Bamber has been critical of the support offered by existing trade bodies. JONATHAN WELCH

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