July 15 2021
This week’s blog post is from Phil Smith, CPT’s Coaching Manager. Phil writes about the benefits of being coach-friendly, and how operators can help to promote the Coach Friendly scheme.
For many years now, our colleagues in the bus sector have become very successful at engaging with key stakeholders such as local authorities and their local business communities. The coach industry should follow suit. The issues that dominate our thoughts such as decarbonisation, PSVAR and facilities for passengers and drivers will all be easier to progress if we can engage with the “decision makers” in the localities that our coaches visit.
The Coach Friendly Scheme is a useful means of opening dialogue with local politicians, their officers and business leaders who might not, in the first instance at any rate, realise the environmental and economic benefits that coaches bring to the areas they either represent or run their businesses in.
In return for often modest, even low-cost measures. A district can increase its businesses earning potential, improve air quality and reduce road traffic congestion very effectively.
Coaches represent a powerful solution to the challenges faced by many popular visitor destinations that are often important historic locations with limited road space and whose businesses depend on visitors to ensure that they can thrive. Similarly, there are many seaside resorts that are looking to reinvent themselves and re-connecting with our sector is a good way to start and then develop that process.
The Coach Friendly scheme provides a package that has clear selling points and is easy for stakeholders to digest as often they know little about our sector and may not have had any contact with coaches or coach travel in a very long time.
Coach Friendly, helps to deliver the National Coach Strategy and many of its features mean that if a destination becomes a scheme member, then we are heading towards that all important target of a 15% increase in coach passenger journeys that in turn will deliver the improvements in air quality that local politicians are being challenged to deliver, and improve traffic flows which eases pressure on their highway networks.
For our sector, Coach Friendly seeks to improve facilities at destinations for our passengers, our drivers and to achieve lower parking fees (if not free parking) for our vehicles once they arrive!
A few examples of what “Coach Friendly” has achieved around the country are listed here:
- Driver meal voucher, Drivers Rest room & free coach parking at Bury Market.
- Dedicated coach signage in various locations.
- Coach Ambassadors greeting coach passengers at Inverness.
So, in conclusion, I would implore you to take every opportunity to promote the Coach Friendly scheme, especially when engaging with your local politicians and fellow business leaders and finally, if you are finding it difficult to grab the attention of stakeholders, we will soon have a leaflet ready to promote the scheme and all it offers.