Coach & Bus UK: Industry buoyant at show

The industry came together at the NEC Birmingham on 2-3 October for Coach & Bus UK, the leading domestic trade show.

Reports from visitors and the over 180 exhibitors have been positive, with much business being done over the course of the two-day show.

This year debuted several new interactive concepts. The Innovation Challenge saw 19 suppliers offer their latest technology-based products. A combination of voting by visitors and a panel of experienced industry judges decided the winner.

Looking forward at Coach & Bus UK

With the vehicle display area moved to within the halls, space outside was used to demonstrate some of the industry’s latest on-road technology.

The Zero Emission Zone showcased three battery-electric vehicles, with ride-on demonstrations available. Nearby, an autonomous Alexander Dennis Enviro200 – developed with Fusion Processing and Stagecoach – gave the first public trial of the self-driving bus ahead of five entering service with the group in Scotland.

Plenty of metal was also on show inside the halls. In total, over 85 vehicles were present at the show. Among them were several making their UK debuts – including one or two surprises.

Operators all had plenty to see. Coach suppliers were out in force, with many of the vehicles on their stands able to satisfy PSVAR requirements as the industry gets to grips with impending changes to the Regulations’ scope.

Also to be seen were highly-specified luxury touring coaches. Accessibility figured highly, with some models equipped to carry wheelchair users. Others focused on high capacity. Mini and midicoach dealers and manufacturers were prominent, with several debuting new or updated products.

Less-mobile passengers’ needs were also accommodated in the miniplus Area. Suppliers of mini vehicles were represented alongside those specialising in wheelchair boarding and restraint equipment.

Buses, including smaller examples, were also prominent, including one from a manufacturer that is completely new to the UK market. Additionally, suppliers in numerous other disciplines had every conceivable product and service that operators could require.

The key issues

As popular as ever was The Theatre. Over the course of the show various expert speakers addressed the audience on many topics, including Brexit, Euro VI coach retrofit, Clean Air Zones and London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone, electrification, and the difference between turnover and profit.

“It was a pleasure to see the industry out in force at Coach & Bus UK and to hear that exhibitors reported strong business throughout the show,” says Event Director Helen Conway.

“Additionally, the new initiatives offered to visitors for 2019 were received well. When coupled with recent announcements regarding public funding for the sector, and work being done behind the scenes to further promote the industry’s voice, that suggests a positive future for coach and bus.”

Coach & Bus UK’s sister event, Euro Bus Expo, will return to the NEC Birmingham on 3-5 November 2020.