April 12 2024

Not many people know that is one of the greenest ways to travel around the country and see the sights, as well as being a convenient, comfortable and affordable way for people from across the income spectrum to access a host of interesting and beautiful places not well served by the rail network.

The environmental dividend from coach travel is significant: One coach carrying 50 passengers can prevent at least 20 individual car trips. A coach also has lower greenhouse gas emissions per passenger than any other mode - some six times lower per passenger than private car travel, including EV's.

Yet too many local transport plans overlook coaches and fail to recognise their potential to deliver environmental benefits while supporting more economic activity. At best, many simply consider access for long-distance scheduled services to bus and coach stations.

This is why CPT’s Manifesto for Coach calls for the next Government to impose a statutory duty on local transport authorities to collect data on the current and potential coach market, and to consider appropriate drop-off/pick-up and parking facilities for the scale and range of coach operations (scheduled and non-scheduled), in their area. The manifesto also suggests Government should issue guidance to ensure local authorities also provide clear information about coach facilities, and make bus priority measures available to coaches unless there's some specific reason to exclude them.

CPT also believes efforts to increase travel by coach and improve the facilities coach drivers and passengers enjoy when visiting destinations need to be at the heart of every sustainable tourism strategy pursued by tourist attractions, Business Improvement Districts and local authorities alike.

So as draws to a close and operators head to the 68th Coach Rally in Blackpool, it's encouraging to report that more destinations and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are starting to recognise this, with a growing number seeking accreditation under CPT's 'Coach Friendly' scheme.

Created a decade ago the scheme offers a framework within which local authorities, BIDs, Destination Management Organisations and diverse business’s in places such as seaside resorts, historic towns and attractions like museums or heritage parks can work in partnership with the coach sector to improve facilities for coach passengers, drivers and operators. Any city, town, village, or attraction that can demonstrate a significant tourism offer and wants a means of achieving more visitors in a sustainable way will find it useful to consider becoming accredited under 'Coach Friendly'.

Recent recruits or renewals to the scheme include Shrewsbury, Oswestry, The Sill Landscape Discovery Centre in the Northumberland National Park, Beamish Living Museum of the North, and Bristol Aerospace. Each took the steps required to become 'coach friendly' because they want to cater well for coaches and their passengers, attract more visitors in ways that will also help curb congestion, improve air quality and promote greater levels of more sustainable tourism.

Take at look at this webpage for more information about the scheme and for an interactive map showing which places have already secured Coach Friendly status.