The industry may have a long road to recovery, but there is strength in numbers. Staying informed, proactivity and collaboration are key.
A recent short break in Harrogate brought home the notable lack of coaches on Britain’s roads. There were some operators venturing out and I understand even those who have fought shy of operating day trips in the past have dipped their toe in the water with good results thanks to pent up demand.
This shows the resilience of the coach industry against incredible odds over the past few months, so I have every confidence the industry will bounce back.
Coach versus bus
Buses are inevitably compared to coaches; indeed, the media often don’t know the difference despite CPT’s and our members’ best efforts. This is because buses are an everyday part of public services in the UK, whereas coaches are not seen that way, simply supplying a service without fuss and without any form of outside funding.
Despite ongoing funding to maintain bus services, the obligation to provide services that are not being used is not being compensated to anything like the level required to cover costs.
The funding that is available is only paid after an excruciating “open book” costing exercise with detailed management accounts and cash flow forecasts required – not something that every company can supply, especial the smaller independent operators.
At least the government recognise the need for bus services but the case for coach is harder for them to justify, especially for the leisure sector.
‘Invaluable’ virtual meetings
This has been a frustrating year for us all, not least as President as I would have been around the country on my travels by now, which has not been possible due to lockdown.
There is nothing that can substitute face-to-face interactions, but in other ways I must be the most travelled President in history as I attend many meetings by Zoom. These meetings have been invaluable to our members to get the latest updates from the experts at CPT and learn from each other.
Keeping you in the know
CPT provides an amazing source of information and gives CPT members the edge in proactivity and maximising the support available. For that reason, CPT has continued to attract new members, especially on the coaching side, during the pandemic as word gets out that if you want to be proactive in an incredibly tough market, you need to be informed and have advice and help on tap.
I look forward to continuing to meet members and potential members on my travels via Zoom and where possible in person, as we hopefully start the long road to recovery.