It is not unrealistic to say that the coach and bus industry, in general, has long had something of an image problem in the minds of certain members of the public. Many operators have comprehensively proved that such thoughts are misguided. But the view still exists in some quarters.
An image problem would not be what sprung to mind among people observing the recent Honk for Hope gatherings, which are scheduled to continue in Edinburgh on 6 August. Impeccably presented vehicles and drivers have done the coach industry bid for support proud.
That is the way any further action to highlight a plight that poses a threat to the future of coaching must continue.
Negotiations between the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) and government are balanced almost on a knife edge. It finally seems that ministers may be about to concede some ground. Disruption, be it well-meaning or otherwise, runs the risk of terminally damaging the hard work that CPT, Honk for Hope and, above all, operators have put in to get this far.
Both CPT and organisers of Honk for Hope are adamant that their names will not be associated with anything other than organised, respectful action. And quite rightly so.
Recent weeks have seen several outlandish suggestions for future courses of protest made via social media. They extend in degrees of recklessness from those that are likely to cause major disruption, to others that would lead to a serious encounter with the Police for those involved. That is before the potential impact on O-Licences and repute is considered.
Great work has been done to solve the coach and bus industry’s image problem over recent years. The same reasoned and professional approach that conveys the desired message must now be maintained if the coaching’s current woes are to be negotiated. Not a display of civil disobedience.