When I was first asked to write this article in early March, the subject matter for Pelican Yutong seemed obvious: The TCe12.
As the only zero-emission battery-electric coach available in the UK, together with the ever-growing prominence of green issues, we were seeing increasing interest in the TCe12 from a widening segment of operators and end users. Although less than a month ago, it may as well be a lifetime!
2019: ‘A huge milestone’ for Pelican Yutong
Now the whole industry is living through a unique crisis that seems to have been perfectly designed to disrupt businesses and livelihoods across the entire UK coach and bus world. I, like many people reading this, run a family business. I have just endured the worst two weeks of my 35-year career.
No operator, large or small, has been unaffected. Many people have seen their life’s work put at risk. In January, I anticipated that 2020 would be a breakthrough year for us, with more electric bus sales than diesel coaches. That will still be the case, but sadly for entirely different reasons.
This time last year, we celebrated a huge milestone: 100 years of Pelican Engineering. Our third-generation family business was founded by my grandfather when he left the army at the end of World War One and started a small engineering business.
My father is still a regular sight at Pelican (until the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak) and my daughter has recently started with the company. Our aftersales operation remains open 24/7 to support logistics and NHS supply chains, and any coach or bus operators that need it.
I am personally very proud of the commitment shown by all our valued staff.
‘A fantastic industry to be part of’
We can all take pride in the many uplifting stories of coach and bus operators and their employees who have volunteered their time, effort and resources to help our country and those who are most in need while they are so unsure of their own future.
Thank you to our fantastic NHS workers and other key staff, including those who work for bus operators who are still providing essential services to get employees to where they are needed.
People of all ages have overcome their fears to keep the wheels turning. It has shown me the true spirit, grit and determination of our industry and that we will all pull together to get through this and come out the other side.
It may take time and a lot of hard work, but I believe that the coach and bus industry can come out of this stronger. Please keep the faith. There will be light at the end of this tunnel.