CPT - Championing the UK's coach industry for over 50 years - National Coach Week 2024

Confederation of Passenger Transport is immensely proud to have served our coaching members since 1974 and to work with many other industry bodies supporting this dynamic sector, to highlight and promote the contribution it makes to communities across the UK.  

CPT works with and for the coach sector to remove barriers, resolve issues, enable opportunities and provide solutions for our members and industry partners. During #NationalCoachWeek we will highlight the amazing work of our members, our key initiatives and achievements over the past year, and our manifesto goals and activity for the coach sector during the coming year.

CPT's 500+ coach members are a vital component of the UK’s transport system and wider economy. They provide home-to-school, leisure, long-distance, corporate and tourism transport, as well as stepping in for other transport modes, come rain or shine, 365 days a year.

During #NationalCoachWeek 2024 we reiterate our commitment to:

  • Work relentlessly to champion the social, economic and environmental contribution of the coaching community, and in particular our 500-strong family of coach operator members.
  • Provide unrivalled specialist and experienced operational and policy advice, helping members run their businesses smoothly and in full compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Collect relevant data and provide robust evidence to government in order to deliver positive change for CPT's members on policy matters from PSVAR to decarbonisation.
  • Speak on behalf of CPT members to Government ministers, elected representatives, local transport authorities and other key stakeholders and decision makers.
  • Place coach front and centre in our on-the-ground work across the UK regions and nations, and with local transport authorities.
  • Deliver the UK’s first framework for Local Transport Coach Strategies.
  • Represent the interests of our members with regulatory bodies and ensure their voice is heard.
  • Work behind the scenes, to campaign for better working conditions across the sector.
  • Champion ‘Coach Friendly’ accreditation locations and attractions and encourage more places to improve coach facilities and seek the status.
  • Provide a bespoke, unrivalled, industry solution for our Tour Operator members in Bonded Coach Holidays.

Enabled by our members

Duncan Aspinall is the present custodian of Holmeswood Coaches – an operator started by his grandfather in 1947 and well known for high quality reliable coaching services across North West of England, the UK and Europe. He learned the business from the ground up, cleaning coaches for pocket money as a boy before joining the company full time upon graduating from university in the mid 1980’s. Duncan was also Chair of CPT’s Coach Commission from 2021 to 2023.

Although the coach sector has been buoyant since covid restrictions were lifted, it still faces real challenges, not least driver shortages. So Holmeswood has been training its own & believes this is key to attracting younger people into the sector. Another challenge is sourcing vehicles: lead times for new vehicles are much longer than pre pandemic, which impacts the availability and price of used coaches too. Duncan’s company is still paying back a government backed corona virus business interruption loan, while some other operators & suppliers have gone out of business.

Duncan anticipates the next generation of his family taking Holmeswood forward into the 2030’s. He predicts key challenges will include driver recruitment & retention, the transition to zero emission coaches that match the multiple uses these vehicles fulfil in our society, and the ongoing effort required to persuade politicians of all colours that coaches are essential to the this country’s public transport mix. He also believes CPT will continue to be important to the sector in finding answers to all of these issues.                   

Speaking with decisionmakers

Throughout the year, CPT regularly engages with policy makers and parliamentarians to speak up for coach operators, raising issues and highlighting the importance of the UK's coach sector, working relentlessly to highlight the social, economic & environmental contribution that coaches make to the country's transport infrastructure.

Last year, CPT delivered the Coach Route Map to Destination Zero report through the Zero Emission Coach Taskforce. Since presenting that to government, we've continued to highlight the options for decarbonising the sector, to ensure coach makes an even greater “green” contribution in the future.

Our 50th anniversary dinner and Annual Conference, attended by ministers and shadow ministers, also engaged a wide range of stakeholders. 

In January we launched CPT’s Coach Manifesto 2024 to drive and inform a vital national conversation on coach in the run up to the General Election. Ahead of the local elections in May, we have also ramped up engagement with local transport authorities across the country, and particularly mayoral combined authorities, to ensure that are policies in place that enable the benefits of coach to be fully realised.

Valuing our members

Rebecca Mayne belongs to a well-known coach industry family from Moray in North East Scotland. Maynes of Buckie are prominent members of CPT and the Guild of Coach Operators. She's been active in her family business for about six years, though she has of course been around it for much longer.

In recent times Rebecca's enjoyed taking a leading role in operational and compliance matters and she takes great satisfaction from her involvement with the company’s journey towards membership of DVSA’s Earned Recognition Scheme - which accredits businesses that achieve high standards in the fields of operational & mechanical compliance.

Rebecca also takes pride in her contribution to ensuring the business delivers a quality service to its many clients and looks forward to taking this high profile coach business forward in her capacity as the next generation of the Maynes family. She similarly looks forward to becoming active in CPT.  

Working for operators and passengers

The UK coach sector is vital to keep the country moving, whether taking 600,000 children to school & college every day, stepping in to keep the rail network moving when the trains can’t run, providing important intercity coach services, or transporting thousands of people who choose to travel by coach for leisure.   

This year the EU will introduce its biometric entry & exit system (EES) so CPT has worked hard to ensure that key locations like the Port of Dover understand how this will affect international coach travel and implement these new requirements in a way that minimises delays. It also engaged closely with the Department for Transport and Port of Dover to ensure the severe delays seen over Easter 2023 have not been repeated in subsequent peak periods.                       

CPT has also developed a meaningful, credible PSVAR policy through its members' Coach Commission and actively engages with Government to leverage it position as the most representative trade association for the UK coach sector.

Great drivers taking visitors to Coach Friendly places

Tyler Wild works for CPT member Acklam’s Coaches of Beverley Yorkshire and was trained by them to acquire his PCV licence in 2019.

Tyler first started working for Acklam’s as a coach cleaner to supplement his student loan while studying at university, but he found the industry so interesting and compelling he took the opportunity to learn to drive a coach when it came his way.       

Tyler says he loves constantly meeting new people from many different walks of life and the fact that much of the UK and Europe is his “office window” when he's at work. He also feels that his career as a coach driver has helped him to develop many “whole life” skills such as geographic knowledge and leadership because often his passengers look for support & guidance when they visit places, especially ones they have never been to before.

At the same time Tyler recognises there are challenges, such as traffic congestion which affects itineraries, not to mention restrictions on where coaches can park, but he was delighted to learn that CPT are constantly working with the relevant authorities to improve the environment in which coaches operate and to expand the number of towns and tourists attractions accredited under CPT's Coach Friendly Scheme.    

CPT members get involved

The profile and impact of CPT is greatly enhanced by the efforts of its active membership, not least during National Coach Week.

Share your good news stories and your coach pictures and videos on your social media channels during National Coach Week.

Use the hashtags #NationalCoachWeek and #AccessAllAreas to join the conversation, and please tag @CPT_UK, @CPTYorksNorth, and @CPT_Scot in your posts.

Mention Confederation of Passenger Transport in your Linked In posts as well. 

  • Contact your local MP and ask them to support coaches in Parliament Find your local MP.
  • Become a case study for social media. Provide a short video interview to the CPT media team and we will try to showcase your work on our social channels in the coming weeks. 

Benefit as part of our community

CPT provides a wide range of services exclusive to our members, delivered directly by a dedicated in-house team, industry suppliers and commercial partners.

These include: 

  • Operational & Technical Assistance: Our dedicated Operations Team offers members practical support to assist them in running their businesses. The Bonded Coach Holidays scheme provides a bespoke, unrivalled, industry solution for Tour Operator members.
  • CPT's Coach Friendly Scheme accredits destinations & attractions that work in partnership with the sector to make their facilities and venues practical for coach. 
  • Policy & Media: Our External Relations team works to ensure members' voices are heard and their interests safeguarded at local and national levels across the UK.
  • Events & Workshops: Members are kept up to date through regular national and regional meetings, workshops and conferences shown in the Events Schedule.
  • Benefits for your passengers: CPT works closely with ABTOT to offer a coach specific bond scheme ensuring monies paid by passengers for coach holidays are secure.

Visit here to find out more.

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