Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) Chief Executive Graham Vidler has welcomed the recent influx of public money to the industry – but he says that momentum being gained by buses must be replicated in coaching.
Giving the opening address at Coach & Bus UK, Mr Vidler underlined his earlier message that key to this is the industry being more confident about broadcasting its environmental credentials.
CPT: Fitting coaches in
The £500m made available to buses by the Scottish Government represents a “substantial investment in the future of bus travel” north of the border. The further award of £220m to buses in England is “great to see,” Mr Vidler adds.
What needs to follow is a long-term funding settlement. To achieve that, CPT must maintain its dialogue with governments. It also needs to begin conversations about where coaches fit in.
“For too long, coaches have not had the attention that they deserve.
“CPT intends to change that. Coaches have a huge number of applications. Over the coming months we will work with members to develop a strategy for the coach industry. That will include what coaches offer to passengers – and what they offer to society.”
CPT’s bus strategy is already gaining traction. Mr Vidler’s hope is that its coach document can do the same. It will represent a long-term plan that will set out the industry’s future landscape.
The key to bringing coaches up the political agenda will be to demonstrate the central part that they play in many people’s lives. While buses are often viewed as key to British society, coaches are not. That needs to change, says Mr Vidler.
“The whole industry is key in the fight against poor air quality and climate change. We should not be quiet about that. We should be telling everyone.”
CPT’s completed coach strategy is expected to be launched in early 2020.