April 01 2021
CPT’s Policy Manager Rebecca Kite writes about what we are calling on the Government to do to help the coach industry play its full role in the Covid-19 recovery.
This week we launched ‘Backing Britain’s Coaches: A coach strategy for Britain’ to raise the profile of the industry with Government and outline how they can support the sector now so it can play its full role in the UK’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Coaches are a vital part of UK tourism and bring £14billion each year to the tourism economy but they have struggled to access much of the support available to the rest of the leisure and tourism sector. In the strategy we call on Government to make sure the industry can access this support, so that they will be able to bring the much needed footfall to tourist destinations and locations. This has a great knock-on effect, as all these visitors will support local jobs and the local economy.
Post-pandemic we need to encourage an increase in modal shift, by getting people out of their cars and onto the coach for their long-distance journeys. To do this, we must have positive messaging from Government that encourages coach travel, combined with other measures such as improved facilities and parking for coaches in tourist destinations around the UK. We also propose road pricing could be used as a tool to encourage modal shift, with car users charged to use certain parts of the road. This, combined with transparency so that people can compare the costs of different modes of transport, will go a long way to positioning coach as an appealing travel option.
With a green recovery a top priority for the Government, in the strategy we call on senior ministers and MPs to recognise the vital role coaches can play in achieving this. Many operators have already invested in clean, green vehicles, but there are still many obstacles to overcome and we need Government to work with the industry on a national strategy for sustainable long-distance road transport. It is essential this includes making sure Clean Air Zones are fair for coaches and actually promote a shift from car use to coach use, and also a national clean air fund so that operators can continue to invest in new vehicles or retrofit their vehicles to not only meet the Clean Air Zone standards, but also go beyond this to deliver the UK’s longer term environmental targets
If Government work with the industry to provide a coach-friendly operating environment, the benefits to Britain could be huge. To read about our other asks to Government, I invite everyone to read the strategy, and CPT members please do reach out to your local MP, local media and local authority to share the document with them too.