NUMBER ONE
FOR COACH & BUS

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January 10 2018
By Peter Bradley

Peter is Director of Administration and Development at the London Tourist Coach Operators Association (LTCOA).

The LTCOA is a trade association whose objective is to promote the business case for coach operators and affiliated businesses within the London area. The responsibilities include:

- Articulate the priorities of the Association members;
- Lobby key individuals in local government, Transport for London, the CPT and the trade to advance the Association’s agenda;
- Organise all the administration associated with a trade body;
- Present a professional and progressive image for the Association;
- Continue to develop the association to retain its position as the trade body for tourist coach operators in London.


LTCOA: Next steps in London

A productive meeting with Deputy Mayor Val Shawcross has improved the relationship with coaches, but more needs to be done on our side, writes Peter Bradley

Val Shawcross appears to understand the issues operators face

Representatives from the London Tourist Coach Action Plan (TCAP) Board, including the LTCOA and Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), met with Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport recently.

It was a fruitful meeting and, in my opinion, moved the relationship forward.

However, I cannot stress the enormity of the issues facing the Mayor and TfL, including significant population growth, which makes the business of improving facilities for coaches in our capital city even more challenging.

My take on the meeting was that the Deputy Mayor recognises the importance of coaches in London, especially their role in bringing in tourists to our capital city.

She encouraged a refresh of the Tourist Coach Action Plan, once the final Mayor’s Transport Strategy document is issued, and to seek technological improvements in moving forward the issues of parking.

She, I believe, understands the challenges the industry faces in complying with the new requirements for the proposed changes to the ULEZ.

We could do more

However, I also took away a number of issues that we, the industry, could do ourselves to move things forward.

Firstly, I would encourage coach operators who regularly come into London to join a trade body if you are not already a member of one. The more members we have, the greater weight we will have when representing operators in meetings or when responding to consultations.

If you are a member, we would be so grateful if you could participate in association meetings and get involved. Working collectively is so much more powerful than being a lone voice.

Secondly, I would like to encourage those operators, who do not already do so, to ensure that their drivers plan their journeys into London; where they will set down and pick up, where they can park, and to have sufficient funds to pay for it. They should also have a plan B in mind.

Thirdly, when consultations are issued, either respond yourself or work with those who represent you to ensure that the challenges you will specifically face are understood and documented. Having facts at our fingertips is so much more powerful than general impressions.

Coaches ‘annoying’

Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, there is a general feeling from local authorities that coaches annoy residents and those working in London by:

  • Parking in inconsiderate places where spaces are available elsewhere
  • Running engines when it is not necessary
  • Not paying for their parking.

That may be very unfair, but while those authorities still give examples of this behaviour, it makes it so much more difficult for trade bodies to respond. We need your help to get rid of that perception, so we can put our hand on our hearts and say it is not our members that are the perpetrators.

Now please don’t get me wrong. I fully support the coach industry and I am working tirelessly to represent you in all the good that it does and to get better facilities.

However, London is busier and more complicated than it has ever been, and we have to work with stakeholders who are elected to represent those who live in our capital city.

I believe that by working with them we will achieve more; by working against them (however tempting that may be) I doubt we will achieve anything.




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