Calls for government action to mitigate the impact of increasing diesel costs on the coach industry continue to gather pace, with scheduled service provider FlixBus having added its weight to requests for a 15ppl essential user rebate that would capture the sector.
The essential user rebate proposal has been put forward by trade body RHA, with coach operators one of the groups that would benefit if it were adopted. FlixBus UK Managing Director Andreas Schörling says that the business’s partners “have struggled through two years of uncertainty” and that escalating fuel prices “are another big blow for UK coach operators.”
As a result, Mr Schörling has urged the government “to offer an essential user rebate on diesel fuel, as proposed by RHA, to ensure the future of the industry.”
He adds that to help its partners mitigate spiralling fuel costs, FlixBus UK has offered “bespoke financial support based on individual operator needs” to its partners. The business earlier signalled an aspiration to have the UK’s largest scheduled coach network by 2025, with Mr Schörling having previously told routeone that such expansion will primarily come about via shift from other modes.
Meanwhile, RHA continues to urge members of the coach industry to lobby their MPs to support the Association’s calls for fuel price relief for the coach and road freight industries.
In mid-March 40 cross-party MPs wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak advocating RHA’s essential user rebate proposal. It is understood that since then, multiple coach operators whose elected representatives were not among cosignatories of that letter have called upon them to support the plan.
RHA is also asking the Chancellor to cut fuel duty to cushion increases in diesel costs. Mainstream media sources have reported that Mr Sunak is considering such a step ahead of delivering his Spring Statement on 23 March.