Tough winter ahead

This month should have seen us delivering lots of coverage of the forthcoming Euro Bus Expo event and launching our annual yearbook. But of course that has all had to be parked for a later date and instead we are all continuing to try and navigate a route through the pandemic and beyond.

Our commitment to delivering future-focused content on the vital transition to a low- and zero-carbon future for buses and coaches remains unabated, but of course we are also covering the here and now, and focusing on the challenges for bus, and perhaps especially coach operators in these challenging times.

While on the surface the bus sector has at least had some recognition and funding from government through the crisis, it is still immensely frustrating to hear the constant messaging from government ministers in all parts of the UK urging people to avoid public transport if they can. The danger is that this message may stick and it could be a considerable time till the sector can shake off this stigma, despite the fact that there is very little scientific evidence produced to back it up and the few studies that have been done seem to show that Covid protection measures instigated by operators have been very successful.

And of course for the coach sector, the position is much, much worse. CPT continues to argue that there are very significant job losses and company failures in the offing unless government steps in with some sector-specific help. So far that has fallen on deaf ears at the Treasury, but the reality of a second wave of Covid now in progress could still change minds and pressure needs to be maintained.

We are hearing of some very successful coach companies being in serious trouble. For some it is already too late, but the rest urgently need support alongside all the other sectors hit by continuing lockdowns and depressed demand including hospitality, events and the arts.

It’s a tough winter ahead. All we can do is keep battling, continue to make the strong arguments for sector support and stick together.