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December 12 2018
By Tim Deakin

Tim is Editor of routeone and has worked in both the coach and bus and haulage industries.

What does 2019 hold for the coach industry?

What does your crystal ball tell you is in store for coaches during 2019?

It’s little secret that coach operators have often felt themselves to be forgotten about by policymakers. And understandably so; buses have received tens of millions of pounds to help them to reduce their environmental impact. Coaches get nothing.

Tellingly, wheels may soon start to turn on changing that. The Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP) has had the DfT’s ear where buses are concerned for some time. It has now aired the possibility of launching a Coach Working Group.

Early suggestions are that LowCVP would like to define an ultra-low emission coach and engage in creating a funding stream for such coaches and the retrofit of others.

That will be cautiously welcomed, despite it being a little too late for virtually all operators who are active in at least the southern third of the UK; London’s ULEZ is now little more than four months away.

But it shows that, finally, coaches may be on the agenda. There is a lot for their operators to consider for the future. Autonomy, we are assured by a senior figure at one of the largest manufacturers, is coming, and the same company continues to introduce technology that is clearly leading up to that.

Against that backdrop, we see a technology business, with its artificial intelligence-laden software, taking an increasing interest in coaches. It sees them as an answer to the commuting problem for employers that are not served by current public transport networks.

If only there was a way to marry all of the above together. It would be the closest the industry could hope to come to a coaching panacea.

Dust off your crystal balls. Will 2019 in the coach industry top the above?

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