CPT President Steve Whiteway calls for the industry to come together for the Back Britain’s Coaches campaign, to help deliver the support needed from government to survive coronavirus COVID-19
It has been a surreal four weeks since I last posted my column for routeone – and it is difficult to sum up, in just a few words, the wide range of work the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) team has been doing to support the coach and bus industry behind the scenes.
A bewildering amount of information and help has been dissected down into what members, and indeed the wider industry, needs to know. There has been notable success.
Video conferencing is in vogue now and has been working well. It has enabled me to see what is going on across the country without having to travel, even if I could.
It has been heart-warming to witness the efforts made by CPT members -both operators and suppliers – to help in this national crisis. Despite their own problems, they have helped to sustain much loved and long-established businesses.
A deal has been achieved for the bus industry, which, while not likely to help it thrive, should allow it to survive. Let’s be honest – it is going to be a tough road ahead.
The coach industry’s plight is a much harder one to crack, as buses, trains and planes seem to be in the limelight and considered ‘essential’ public services. No so much for coach services, although we all know how much the UK depends on the sector. We need to make sure those in power know too, and what the devastating effects will be if the coach industry gets no further help through this unprecedented crisis.
Back Britain’s Coaches, the strapline for CPT’s campaign to get further help for the coach industry, is being rolled out as I write. Providing a toolkit of help along with expert media coverage for CPT members, I hope all coach operators – members or otherwise – will get behind this campaign and make sure those who need to know do know how valuable we are to the UK’s service-based economy.
Coaches are the arteries of our country that complement buses as the veins of local passenger transport.
Buses achieved a deal, in part, because they had the full support of operators, providing essential facts to make a strong case for the bus industry. Those facts are needed to help CPT get further; every MP, councillor, supplier, client and anyone else who can make a difference needs to know about the plight of coaches in the UK.
Back Britain’s Coaches means Britain’s coach operators and suppliers using CPT’s toolkit to get the message out there. Don’t leave it to others. If every coach operator and its supplier does their bit, we can succeed. The CPT team has done everything possible to help you – now it needs 100% of your support to supply the information and get the message out.
There will be a return to normality. We want that to include a thriving coach and bus industry, so it is essential we keep things going through this crisis.
I look forward to your help in doing just that, and coming out to the other side ready to help rebuild the UK’s economy.