Coach and bus coronavirus

Steps taken by the government thus far to assist the coach and bus industry in mitigating the effects of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic are welcome. But they are not enough.

Thus far, Westminster has put in place several measures to help operators that have seen workloads and passenger numbers decimated.

The payment of up to 80% of furloughed employees’ wages by the state is highly significant. Work to ensure that local authorities continue to reimburse operators in a ‘business as usual’ manner is another important safeguard.

The efforts of suppliers to work constructively with the sector should also be noted. Most have bent over backwards to assist where they can.

But what is really needed if the industry is to survive in its current form is a wider government fund to cover loss of turnover.

One coach operator who has been at the forefront of the #coachcrisis social media campaign points out that he would soon be ramping up to full capacity for the summer season. Instead, his vehicles look like they will be idle for the foreseeable future.

The story is similar for bus operators that carry fare-paying children and students on commercial services. That income has vanished and will not return until potentially September or October. Most revenue generated by employed passengers has also disappeared.

Politicians should sit on the fence no longer. They must put in place further support measures for the coach and bus industry as it deals with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. It is the right thing to do for the people that work in it. It is also the right thing to do for society.