Wish you were here?

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At the time of writing, there was still no sign that operators in England would receive any kind of financial assistance, and many were still fearful for their survival. Jonathan Welch speaks to some of those involved in the Wish You Could Hear campaign.

2020 was by any measure, a year to forget. Wish you were here? No, most people would rather be anywhere but here. Although the coronavirus crisis has brought out the best in people, brought the industry and community together like never before, and seen some frankly amazing acts and gestures of kindness and goodwill, putting it bluntly: none of that will pay the bills. Fuel suppliers won’t accept ‘number of donations to foodbanks’ as a form of payment, nor will finance companies accept kindness in lieu of monthly payments. We have already seen a number of companies large and small close their doors, and others are on the edge of their seats watching with bated breath to see if any help is on the horizon.

Following on from the industry’s Honk for Hope campaign, specialist coach and bus insurance brokers McCarron Coates decided to do their bit and take things a step further to draw attention to the plight of the industry. We spoke to Directors Ian McCarron and Paul Coates to find out more about their Wish You Were Here campaign, the idea behind it and what they set out to achieve, as well as some of the operators who have been closely involved in promoting it.

“Wish You Could Hear quickly gained momentum online,” said Paul. He explained that Wish You Could Hear has been set up to compliment and further the work done by Honk for Hope, and also stressed that although some operators have expressed dissatisfaction with the CPT’s response, the message is not related to the CPT and is simply about seeking support and survival for the sector.

“We have nothing against the CPT,” he said, “all we are looking for is to further raise awareness. We all need to be lobbying the government. The more people – operators, suppliers, hoteliers, the general public – get involved, the more chance we have of it landing on the right desk.”

Ian added: “Our business survives on the coach industry. We’ve been involved with coaches for 20 years now. It’s what we know, what we live and breathe. We need to make sure the industry survives.”

Coach operators across the country are continuing their calls for help as the coronavirus pandemic enters its second year. JONATHAN WELCH

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