An idea to raise awareness of the coach industry’s current plight, launched by specialist insurance broker McCarron Coates and called ‘Wish you could Hear’, has gathered further momentum.

The supplier devised a retro postcard as the centrepiece of the campaign. It is available in both hard copy and electronically. It depicts a vintage Leyland Tiger Cub with Duple bodywork from the fleet of Alpine Travel of Llandudno, complete with the ‘Wish you could Hear’ strapline and a plea for support on the rear.

Operators can forward the postcard in either format to MPs or influencers in a bid to convince them to bring pressure on the government to support the industry.

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Most recently, Jill and Mary Walton, of Freckleton-based Waltons Coaches, and Blackpool Transport Managing Director Jane Cole and Finance and Commercial Director James Carney, staged a photocall with a vehicle from each of their respective fleets to promote the campaign. It took place in front of Blackpool Tower.

The electronic version of the postcard was developed at the request of VisitBlackpool. The tourism arm of Blackpool Council is encouraging hoteliers and other tourism businesses in the town to lobby on the coach sector’s behalf.

Ms Cole is President of the NW Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. She is also Confederation of Passenger Transport President-elect for 2021. She says: “We are delighted to support this campaign as coach operators need urgent assistance.

“2020 has been a devastating year for the coach sector, with many family-owned firms having already closed down. We must save an industry upon which so many of us rely – whether it is to get our children to school, to provide us with leisure and holiday options, or to transport us to sports matches.

“Coach operators have been the forgotten victims of the pandemic. That needs to change.”

Email or call McCarron Coates to do your bit

McCarron Coates Directors Paul Coates and Ian McCarron have thanked Blackpool Transport for its support of the campaign. They say that the postcard idea has received “so much positive feedback that we are sure we can make a difference.” They encourage operators that have not already done so to get involved and help to make the industry’s plight heard.

Hard copy and electronic postcards are available by emailing McCarron Coates or calling 0113 298 3489. On the reverse side is an emotive message that articulates the sector’s woes:

‘Having a truly torrid time. Black clouds ever present. Coach sector is beached. Vehicles laid up, family businesses in ruins, finance agreements on off-the-road coaches being enforced.

‘Wish MPs would shout out that the coach sector matters – to tourism, leisure and education. It matters to all destinations, attractions, theatres, schools and community groups. To people of all ages. Probably won’t be back next year.’