With an election looming, now is the perfect time for operators to promote their initiatives to help encourage more people to take the bus, says the CPT Chief Executive
As I approach my six-month anniversary at the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), I’ve been reflecting on what a big few months they have been for the industry.
We have had the welcome announcements of significant funding in both Scotland and England to improve bus services and help increase passenger numbers and, following our calls for its creation, a commitment from the Chancellor to introduce a national bus strategy.
It was somewhat timely that we were already scheduled to be on BBC Breakfast to discuss the future of zero-emission buses on the day this particular announcement was made. However, the announcement of a general election, which could result in a new government, means we cannot take these commitments, in England at least, for granted.
Before the election was announced, CPT had been speaking to the Prime Minister’s team and the Department for Transport about how we turn the vision of a strategy into reality, and we stand ready to engage with the next Prime Minister, their team and new MPs come 13 December on this too.
We also have one eye on early 2020 when we will launch our coaching strategy, giving us the opportunity to raise the profile of coaching needs too. Our coaching conference in early December is a further chance for operators to have their input into the strategy’s aims and ambitions – please get in touch if you want more details.
You can help
While CPT can do a lot on your behalf, such as influencing senior politicians and advisers and representing the industry in the media, we cannot do it alone and we need your help. Politicians – from your parish councillor to the local MP – will firstly want to know what is happening in their area and they won’t always have the time to listen to the national trade body; this is where you come in.
We have some great examples of initiatives, which are taking place across the country, such as operators investing in zero-emission vehicles and getting ahead of the 2025 commitment in our recent bus strategy.
I’ve also seen the benefits of joined-up, compelling communications showing why it’s ‘Better by Bus’ in Liverpool and price-capped contactless ticketing in Brighton, Doncaster and Edinburgh. These showcase just a small sample of what operators are doing, but we need to tell people about them.
If you are not already, I would urge you to get in touch with your local leaders and talk to them about your initiatives to help encourage more people to take the bus. Now is coincidentally the perfect time to reach out to those seeking to be the next MP for your area.
CPT’s external relations team is ready to help you prepare for any meetings you might secure. It is by establishing these relationships now, with positive stories, that we have the ability to shape how decision makers view the bus industry when making decisions on its future in the months and years ahead.