Coaches offer inclusive, accessible and flexible transport to millions of people each year, which includes getting 600,000 children a day safely to school, contributing £14billion each year to UK tourism, and providing emergency transport when other services such as rail and flights are cancelled or diverted. Here’s what’s needed to enable coach operators to continue to offer the huge range of coach services millions of people depend on.
Clear Air Zones have a role to play in helping improve air quality in areas where that quality is low. With the World Health Organisation and the UK Government recognising that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today, cleaning up the air we breathe is more important than ever.
Coaches have the ability to take a substantial number of cars off the road which would greatly improve air quality and help achieve the objectives of Clean Air Zones. The current system of support for coach operators to upgrade or retrofit their vehicles has been welcomed, but access to this funding is a postcode lottery and is usually determined by an operator’s locality in relation to a Clean Air Zone and by their nature, coaches are often not based in the areas they serve. This is why we are calling for a national clean air fund to be created that is open to all coach operators to access, to help with retrofit and/or upgrade costs.
Alongside this funding, if Clean Air Zones have a greater focus on charging cars rather than coaches, it would help to make coach the most appealing travel option and encourage more people on board.
For more information about how buses and coaches can improve air quality, click here.
Coach is a sustainable and environmentally friendly travel option and encouraging more people to leave their cars at home and travel by coach instead would have a dramatic impact on carbon emissions and air quality.
The latest Euro VI coaches emit less nitrogen oxides per vehicle than the latest diesel cars and an increase of just 15% in coach passenger journeys each year would lead to approximately 47 million fewer cars on the road, a reduction of over a quarter of a million tonnes of carbon dioxide and significantly less congestion on our roads.
Nonetheless, coach operators recognise the importance of transitioning to zero emission vehicles.
This is a monumental challenge for industry and it is important that any eventual zero emission targets for coach are realistic and recognise the unique barriers operators face regarding infrastructure, funding, technological development and operational issues. Our Zero Emission Coach Taskforce is committed to identifying a workable and realistic roadmap that sets out coaches’ road to zero and this work will be crucial in informing the Government’s transport decarbonisation plans.
The Zero Emission Coach Taskforce was established following CPT’s Zero Emission Coach Conference held on the 1st December 2021. Membership includes coach operators, infrastructure and finance providers, manufacturers and government observers.
The taskforce has successfully identified the challenges to transitioning to a zero-emission coach fleet, which fall into four main categories – vehicles, infrastructure, finance and operational issues. A report outlining these barriers is being developed and will be used to support CPT’s response to the Governments call for evidence on ending the sale of new, non-zero emission coaches as well as our discussions with Government and other key stakeholders.
The increasing volatility of the fuel market has meant coach operators are seeing a 30% increase, on average, in the cost of their diesel which comes during a period of recovery following the global pandemic.
This additional pressure threatens the viability of many vital services provided by coach that connect passengers to education, employment and other essential activities.
Coaches also have an integral role to play in achieving the UK’s long term environmental goals, with a single coach able to remove up to 50 cars from of the road meaning they can deliver significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, improve local air quality and reduce congestion on our roads.
CPT are therefore calling on government to offer a fuel duty relief on diesel for all coach operators, which would place coach on a level playing field with rail, which currently pays fuel duty at a rate of 11.14p per litre.
To promote the environmental, social and economic benefits delivered by coach travel and to encourage more people on board, CPT, in collaboration with its members, launched a coach marketing campaign in January 2022.
The campaign, called ‘Get Back on Board’, was funded by coach operators, CPT and Coach Marque. A TV advertisement ran throughout January 2022 which showcases coach travel as a comfortable, accessible and sustainable mode of transport. You can watch the full advertisement here.
Further information on the campaign can be found on the Get Back Onboard website here.
To read more about coach-friendly policies and the contribution coaches make to society here.
You can find out about our latest campaigns here.
You can read our coach strategy here.