Bus Users UK supports coach industry

Claire Walters of Bus Users UK has written a letter to Under Secretary of State, Luke Hall, to gain support for the coach industry.

In the letter, Claire expressed concern on behalf of passengers that the country’s 30,000 coaches were not being considered as part of the leisure industry, therefore not entitling them to government support this sector is to benefit from during the coronavirus crisis. She said she finds this ‘confusing and concerning’.

The letter said: “Millions of UK residents take holidays, day trips and short breaks by coach every year to a wide range of attractions and cities in the UK. Others travel overseas by coach and millions of overseas tourists also come to the UK and use coaches to tour around the many historical sites and cities.

“These trips ensure that tourist attractions and important cities and towns receive the economic benefits that such visits bring, as well as helping the visitor to enjoy all that the UK has to offer.

“Theatres, museums, country parks, National Trust properties, sporting events and so on all rely on a steady stream of coach parties to keep their businesses thriving.

“In sum, coach tourism is worth £7bn per year to the UK economy.

“In sum, coach tourism is worth £7bn per year to the UK economy.”

“Beyond the economic argument, it should be noted that older and disabled passengers can rely on coaches to provide accessible transport to their destinations and are reassured by having a knowledgeable driver on hand to guide and help them if required, so coach travel is far more inclusive than most other forms of holiday transport.

“Day excursions and short coach holidays are also generally costed at a level which allows people on more limited incomes to still enjoy a break and enables people who might otherwise not be able to afford a holiday to look forward to something many of us take for granted.

“All such holidays and excursions help people, especially those who have retired for age or health reasons, to stay connected with friends and avoid the social isolation which is all too prevalent in that group.

“I realise that there are many calls for your support at present. However, it seems clear to us that coaches must be seen as a vital part of the leisure industry and therefore should be eligible for any support packages which are provided for that industry. Without this support, a large proportion of the small family firms who have been providing such breaks for many years will undoubtedly go to the wall and larger companies could also suffer fatal losses.

“We need there to be a viable coach industry on the other side of this crisis. Losing such businesses would disproportionately impact on older and more vulnerable members of our society so I would ask you to urgently reconsider the stated position that coaches do not form part of the leisure industry and allow coach operators to receive appropriate support from government sources.”

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