CPT has repeated its warnings about potential mass redundancies and business failures in the coach sector in evidence to the House of Lords’ Economic Affairs Committee. CPT chief executive Graham Vidler contrasted the government’s support for the bus sector through the provision of the Coronavirus Bus Services Support Grant with the situation for the coach industry which is very different with the furlough scheme and many finance holidays coming to an end. Vidler said that 27,000 jobs in the sector are at risk.
Vidler pointed out that the new job support scheme will be of limited use to coach operators who will be unable to meet the hours threshold required to be eligible for support with only those undertaking home to school contracts most likely to benefit.
He also stressed that government messaging encouraging people to work from home has damaged the public perceptions of the safety of public transport.
“The bus and coach industries have both been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, and whilst CBSSG has been a lifeline for the bus network, there has been no such support for the coach industry that is facing a loss of 27,000 jobs,” said Vidler. “Appearing before the committee presented the opportunity to raise this issue, and the committee must now take our message to government that they need to take into account the unique circumstances facing the coach industry and provide urgent support.
“It is also vital that the Committee tells government to ensure messaging encouraging people to work from home doesn’t slip into an avoid public transport message, and to take action now to shape how people travel in the future, with a strong pro-bus message.”