January 06 2023
A very happy and prosperous New Year to all the CPT family!
Reflecting on 2022, I am extremely proud of our sector’s resilience. While economic challenges remain, our industry is starting to recover from the pandemic and continuing to fuel the recovery of the wider economy.
The accessible, affordable, comfortable and environmentally friendly journeys we offer are encouraging more and more people to choose coach and bus. We can see this in the return of fare paying bus passengers (above pre-pandemic levels on many weekends) the uplift in scheduled coach journeys, as rail remains plagued by strikes and cancellations, and the booming demand for leisure coach travel, which is limited only by our ability to recruit enough drivers.
What’s also clear is that bus and coach remain high on the political agenda. In England, the Department of Transport’s three-month £2 single fare cap scheme, which we and our members were heavily involved in, is evidence of this, as is the live debate about the future of bus funding beyond this April.
In Wales, we’re working closely with the Welsh Government on their planned transition to a franchised operating model. While in Scotland, we lobbied hard and successfully for an extension to the Network Support Grant Plus until the end of the financial year.
Further, we’ve made UK decision-makers take note that more people on buses and coaches is key to achieving net zero emissions, and that without a package of bus and coach priority measures, we’ll miss out on major economic and health benefits. This is thanks to our two independent economic reports in 2022 - The Decarbonisation Dividend and Bus & Coach: the route to net zero. Give them a read and let us know your thoughts.
Soon, we’ll publish our innovative Zero Emission Coach Taskforce report to raise the national profile of the support needed to help operators transition to net zero. Later this year, we will commission new economic and social research to further demonstrate to national, regional and local decision-makers how vital our sector is in the UK public transport mix, the economy and in achieving levelling up outcomes.
With the industry experiencing a lack of drivers, we’ve brought this to the heart of the UK and devolved Governments, through a series of ministerial meetings, summits, parliamentary questions and media work. We’ve worked with the DVLA to reduce issues associated with delays with the processing of licences and successfully lobbied for the reintroduction of DVSA training courses for new delegated driving examiners.
Shortly, we’ll be releasing two driver job advertisements on social media; one for bus and one for coach. This is part of our ongoing driver #ThankYouDriver driver recruitment campaign. They’ll also be available for use on your channels.
For our members, we’ve also:
- Responded to over 600 individual member enquiries on an extensive range of operational issues;
- Provided over 100 operational, technical and policy updates;
- Hosted 12 dedicated member sessions on issues such as coach tourism, passenger safety, mental health and the COVID-19 bus service support grant;
- Drove changes made by the DfT to EU occasional drivers and thanks to our recommendation, relaxed the EU tachograph recording requirements;
- Campaigned hard on fuel duty, Eurotunnel price rises and exemption charges on Clean Air Zones;
- Held the UK Government to account on their commitment to invest in more clean fuel technology and fleets.
We’re focused and will stay focused on maintaining and enabling growth for our sector. In deciding the level of subscriptions for this year, the CPT Board has balanced the need to resource us to do that job with a commitment to keeping subscription increases below the rate of inflation. The result is a fifth successive below inflation increase, 7.5% at a time when CPI is over 10%. You can see what this means for you in the invoices that have been going out over the course of this week. This balanced approach recognises the difficult economic conditions for everyone and helps us deliver what our members expect and need.
On a personal note, one of the 2022 highlights for me and the team was getting out and about and meeting members again – at everything from regional meetings to some great dinners and of course the Euro Bus Expo in November 2022. It’s been great to be amongst our members again and maintaining this personal touch in 2023 will be extremely important to your CPT team. This is so we can better understand your needs and provide support.
On top of this, we’ll be putting on a range of unmissable, exciting events. Save the dates for our free UK Bus and Coach Conference in Birmingham on 30 and 31 March, which will be packed with VIP key speakers and workshops, as well as our array of regional dinners!
In closing, we are committed to ensuring that this vital sector continues to have an exciting road ahead. Together, I am confident that our CPT family will further fuel the UK’s passion for bus and coach travel in 2023.
In the meantime, do get in touch if there’s anything we can help you with.
UK Bus & Coach Conference 2023
Join us at the UK Bus & Coach Conference for two days of expert industry speakers and the return of the CPT Annual Dinner. Taking place on Thursday 30 and Friday 31 March, at the Eastside Rooms (Birmingham.
Further details will be shared in due course. For enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org