The History of CPT UK
The first trade association in the transport industry was the Tramways Institute, formed around 1890 and comprised the managers of mainly company-owned horse tramways. In 1897 the newer electric tramway operators formed the Tramways and Light Railways Association (T&LRA). It comprised of both private companies and municipal tramway operators. After the T&LRA was formed, membership of the Tramways Institute declined.
In the last decade of the nineteenth century the Omnibus Owners Association was also formed to look after the interests of omnibus owners who in those days were mainly representing horse drawn public transport.
In 1902 the municipal operators broke away from the T&LRA to form the Municipal Tramways Association (MTA), leaving the T&LRA as a largely private sector organisation, with the British Electric Traction Company (BET) as the largest member.
In the 1920s and 1930s there were various name changes to reflect the growing emphasis on buses and trolleybuses and the inclusion of London Transport in 1933. By 1939 the MTA had become the Municipal Passenger Transport Association and the T&LRA had become the Public Service Transport Association. The personalities involved with the municipal sector bus operators in England and Wales had their own Association of Municipal Transport Managers (AMTM).
Scotland had gained its own organisation in 1921 at the instigation of R. Stuart Pilcher. He had been a municipal manager at Aberdeen and Edinburgh and was later to move to Manchester before becoming Chairman of the Traffic Commissioners in the West Midlands. The Scottish Road Passenger Transport Association was born out of the Scottish Tramway Association and included the four main municipal transport departments north of the border (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow), the Scottish Bus Group companies, a number of individual members and (despite being based in Edinburgh) state sector operations in Northern Ireland.
With the growth of the use of roads by powered motor vehicles, a need for representative bodies developed on a regional basis with associations being formed. Examples included the Northern Road Transport Owners Association Ltd., based in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne which had a passenger sectional board; The United Bus Owners Association based in Wrexham covering the North West area; The Shropshire Omnibus Association Limited based in Oakengates and the Coach Operators Federation based in the South West.
The Passenger Vehicle Operators Association Limited (PVOA), based in London, consisting of many of thindependent operators and the descendents of a number of loose groupings which had existed since the re-appearance of competition after the first world war in the 1920’s. The PVOA had 9 area offices (Northern, Yorkshire, North Western, Metropolitan-Eastern-South Eastern, East Midland, West Midland, South Wales, Western and Scotland)
In due course the activities of these groups developed as governmental control and regulation of the growing industry increased. The Road Traffic Act 1930 regulated and significantly changed the public road transport industry and was the catalyst for many structural changes in the industry.
Before the Second World War, by far the majority of road passenger transport operators in the UK were in private hands. Although the passenger road transport sector had been regulated in 1930, the possibility of nationalisation was becoming more likely after the war.
With this possibility looming large, from the 1940s organisations representing road transport, such as the British Road Federation, the Road Haulage Association, the Roads Campaign Council and the Passenger Vehicle Operator’s Association increasingly campaigned on aspects of transport policy. The British Road
Federation issued Road Transport and the National Plan in 1942, and in 1955 The Case for a National Highway Authority.
In 1943 the Omnibus Owners Association and the Public Service Transport Association merged to form the Public Transport Association (PTA) based at Victoria Coach Station in London. It became the largest such organisation. The PTA covered England and Wales, including the territorial companies, a number of municipal transport undertakings, and 23 independents, some of which were quite small.
The Road Haulage Association published a number of pamphlets against the nationalisation of road haulage, including one entitled Germany was beaten in 1943: State Controlled Transport Led to Failure: It Must Not Happen Here and the Passenger Vehicle Operators Association issued: Free Enterprise or State Control: some reasons why it is in the best interests of the country that road passenger transport should be left free to serve the public, both published in 1946.
Despite this, nationalisation did commence after the war and a number of new trade organisations were formed to reflect the changed structure of the industry. There were threats of huge passenger transport areas being created to take all road transport into government control, but these failed to come into being as a result of post war changes in government.
Eventually a return to Labour government saw the creation of the first Passenger Transport Authorities and Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs), formed under the Transport Act 1968. Bus operators, fearing the prospect of PTE take-overs, mergers or absorption, formed a loose “anti Passenger Transport Authority” alliance spearheaded by the Passenger Vehicle Operators’ Association. Nevertheless the first four passenger transport areas and their PTEs (Manchester, Merseyside, Tyneside and West Midlands) were formed in 1969 & 1970.
The Municipal Passenger Transport Association reconstituted itself as the Association of Public Passenger Transport Operators (APPTO) to reflect the creation of the PTE’s. AMTM also became the Association of Passenger Transport Executives and Managers to reflect the same changes.
Representation for the passenger transport sector had to reflect these changes in 1974 and so the Confederation of British Road Passenger Transport (CPT) was born that year based at Sardinia House in London’s Lincoln’s Inn Fields. It was the successor to PRTA, PVOA & SRPTA (the latter became the Scottish Council of the CPT). CPT’s corporate membership consisted of bus and coach operators in the UK and was divided into 4 sectors (Nationalised; Transport Executive; Local Authority; Coach & Independent Bus). There were also overseamembers and associate members (the later being suppliers of goods and sto the indu
With the birth of CPT, APPTO dissolved itself at the end of 1975 and in 1976, the remaining responsibilities of the group were assumed by the Association of District Councils which was itself formed in 1974 following the local government re-organisation. Then in 1997 the Local Government Association was formed by the merger of the Association of County Councils, Association of District Councils and Association of Metropolitan Authorities. It is based in London.
Subsequent to de-regulation it became known as the Association of Local Authority Bus Company Managers (ALBM) to represent the professional views of the Executive Directors of those bus companies owned by district council, passenger transport authorities and Scottish regions on matters specifically affecting publicly owned bus company management and operations.
Under the Transport Act 1978 the non-Metropolitan Counties were given power to co-ordinate public transport facilities in their areas.
In 1979 the FTA extended their vehicle inspection services to the coaching sector and CPT members continue to be able to take advantage of this service at FTA membership rates. In June 1982 CPT assumed the ‘trading’ name Bus & Coach Council as a prelude to the Conservative government's stated aims to de-regulate and eventually privatise the passenger road transport industry. Coach operations were first to be de-regulated. The organisation became more commercially minded to reflect the changes in the industry.
One development was the creation of Bus & Coach Training Limited as the industrial training organisation for the PSV industry. It was supported in a number of major projects by public funds through the Training Commission as well as by direct grants from the B&CC. Company policy was developed by a board of 22 Directors, 12 of whom were nominated by BCC Council, 8 by Trades Unions and 2 by Educational bodies. The board was supported by a small Executive Committee and 3 Steering Groups specialising in developing standards for Managers, Supervisors, Maintenance Engineers and Bus and Coach Drivers an
The organisation was originally based in the same premises as CPT, but later moved to Rickmansworth and the staff there were supported by a Standards Manager based in Wolverhampton and a number of part time consultants spread from South Wales to Scotland who provided a regional service. The organisation title later changed to Transfed and the organisation moved back to join its CPT parents at Imperial House located in Kingsway in Central London.
Bus & Coach Services Limited was also set up at this time as a wholly owned subsidiary of B&CC. It operated on a commercial basis to offer products and services to BCC members.
Under the 1985 Transport Act,as a prelude to de-regulation, the major role of shire county Transport units changed to secure socially necessary services that were not provided commercially. The Association of Transport Co-Ordinating Officers (ATCO) was created to represent their interests.
De-regulation of the bus sector finally took place in the Autumn of 1986, followed by privatisation. To reflect these changes a new structure was adopted by CPT in 1987. In particular associate status was extended to tendering authorities. There were now section A,B,C and Associate members.
In 1994 the organisation had become the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) to reflect the fact that it now additionally represented the fixed track passenger sector in the UK, i.e. tram, metro and other light rail interests.
The activities of Transfed were taken over by Go-Skills, the sector skills council for the passenger transport industry, and are now centred on a base in the West Midlands.
In November 2006 CPT moved from Imperial House, to its current modern home in Drury House close to London’s Covent Garden.