Steve Whiteway reflects on the growing success of the Back Britain’s Coaches campaign and urges operators to continue the call for support from government
Just four weeks ago in my routeone column, I called for the coach industry to come together to Back Britain’s Coaches, as the Confederation of Passenger Transport’s (CPT’s) campaign got underway after a great deal of success in securing both industry specific and the more general assistance programmes from the government.
With well over 300 operators responding, this has been the most successful campaign response in the history of CPT and indeed its predecessor organisations. The coach industry has at last come together as one to fight for its future.
Both CPT members and non-members alike have joined in, with local campaigning and by making MPs aware of what a coach is. They have played a vital part in Britain’s future as the ‘arteries’, feeding every part of the UK and further afield. Westminster, Edinburgh and Cardiff are all very aware of the coach industry’s plight now – and of the huge contribution coaches make in generating income for the country, reducing emissions and lessening congestion (not to mention transporting over 500,000 school children and students every day).
I am pleased that membership applications have soared and extend a warm welcome to our new members who have joined at a time when CPT’s role has never been more vital.
Please keep campaigning, continue to make Britain aware that coaches play a role in people’s lives that they may not realise directly or indirectly. Reducing congestion helps the motorist and bus services. Coaches take millions of people away on holiday and get people to large sporting and cultural events which might not happen otherwise. Tourist attractions and theatres all rely heavily on incoming tourists which the industry conveys every year. We are a special case and have never asked for nor received public money before.
My message to the government is this: Please help the coach industry with this one-off investment, so we can be there for Britain as it slowly comes out of lockdown. To help rebuild the economy and safeguard the thousands of jobs that would otherwise be lost with the burden falling on the taxpayer for redundancy and benefits in the future, should the industry fail. Thank you in anticipation.
Coaches have dominated the CPT message over the past few weeks. However, buses and the supply industry has not been forgotten with initiatives to assist these sectors through the toughest times in living memory. We are not out of the woods yet, but CPT will continue to be there, battling for the coach and bus industry – a message I will reinforce as I continue my video tour of the UK.
I look forward to seeing you on a Zoom call in the not too distant future.