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March 06 2019
By The routeone team

The routeone team is dedicated to bringing you the latest bus & coach industry news, views, jobs and more.

A strong lobbying force is required

With the present restructuring within the CPT, Leon Daniels expresses his hopes for the association’s future for the good of the industry

My predecessor at Transport for London, David Brown, now Chief Executive of the Go-Ahead Group, once told me that you have three distinct phases of attending the annual CPT dinner.

Leon Daniels: ‘We need now more than ever a strong lobbying force’

In the first phase you are quite junior. You only know a few people, but you recognise many – in particular the grandees of the industry who you recognise from reading about them in the trade press.

In the second phase you are more senior and know a large number of people.

In the third phase, once again, you only know a few people because you are now one of the industry’s senior figures. All your heroes have retired, and many new people have arrived – you don’t really know them, but they know you because you are indeed one of the people they’ve read about in the trade press.

Major reorganisation

So, I found myself at the 2019 CPT Annual Dinner. The second hosted by CPT President Martin Dean who is doing so to bridge the major reorganisation of our trade association. We also heard from Peter Gomershall who is holding the Chief Executive’s fort until a replacement for Simon Posner is appointed.

To be CEO of CPT is a very difficult job. Balancing the needs on the one hand of the ‘Big 5’ major bus operators with the multitude of small independents; balancing the bus lobby from the quite different coach lobby; holding together the suppliers’ sector and its very necessary support; and attempting to work constructively with the government while representing the membership.

Strong lobbying

I am finding it difficult to reconcile that at this difficult time – Brexit; threats of bus franchising; new competition; years of continuous bus patronage decline; the effects of internet shopping; more walking and cycling; and working from home – the industry should want to thin out and weaken its lobbying power and save a few pounds.

It’s critical that the industry has a loud voice that is heard in every quarter

It feels to me we need now more than ever a strong lobbying force. Our industry is under competitive attack from a range of factors, as well as from politicians of many colours, greater regulation remains a continued threat.

Securing the best

However the CPT is reborn, let it not be weaker in terms of experience, coverage, span or capability. Very effective lobbying, persuasive arguments, supporting material and a helping hand for operators large and small remains in great need. I am sure there are many who would find a way to pay even a little more to secure the very best.

If it does not fulfil this role then membership will decline. It may find itself in the same relative financial position – lower costs but fewer members. That would undoubtedly make the whole exercise pointless.

My sincere hope is that this exercise does not leave us permanently impaired in terms of experience and strength. Our industry is a critical one at a critical time. We need a loud voice and I for one want to make sure it is heard in every quarter.

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