CPT calling on government for support
As the industry struggles with the affects of the outbreak of COVID-19, the CPT is collecting data from members to help in its request for support from the government. It is gathering details on losses among operators.
CPT’s CEO, Graham Vidler, has written to Baroness Vere to seek the Government’s support for the bus and coach industry in this difficult time.
“It is increasingly likely that we will see a downturn in passenger numbers on both buses and coaches due to a general perception that exposure to large numbers of people in confined spaces should be avoided. This downturn will be further compounded if the Government implements a ‘social distancing’ strategy and/or uses its powers to limit the use of public transport.”
In particular, CPT has asked for:
• Relief from the need to give statutory notice periods to change services impacted by a downturn in demand or a lack of staff, for the period of the guidance or downturn plus three months thereafter.
• Supported and contracted service revenues to be maintained at an appropriate level even if local authorities reduce mileage or if staffing constraints mean operators cannot provide full timetables.
• Continuity of payment for operators of home to school transport at an appropriate level if schools are closed.
• Concessionary revenue to be maintained at the level operators would have otherwise received (in other words, operators are not penalised for a reduction in concessionary travel).
• No net increase in the rate of fuel duty payable by bus and coach operators (with any increase in fuel duty offset by an increase in Bus Service Operators Grant), for the period of the guidance or downturn and three months thereafter.
• Alongside the current Government advice that schools should remain open ‘if possible’, similar guidance to be issued about school trips, many of which are carried out using coaches.
It also urges the Government to consider providing financial support for public transport operators to protect the UK transport system for the long term. It notes the Italian government is introducing tax credits for companies reporting a 25% drop in revenues. CPT would like to discuss the introduction of a similar arrangement.
CPT has also written in similar terms to local authorities regarding maintaining concessionary and home to school transport.
CPT has welcomed measures outlined in the Budget to help small businesses in the wake of the coronavirus. CPT’s Chief Executive, Graham Vidler, said: “The measures announced today by the Chancellor to support small businesses will be especially welcomed by coach businesses across the country.
“The bus and coach industry already has measures in place to ensure that it is playing its part in helping to slow the spread of the virus and continues to transport critical workers around the country. But if people choose or are required to travel less the industry stands to be significantly affected and will require dedicated support from the Government. This includes greater flexibility to temporarily alter routes and commitments that existing funding for concessionary travel and contracted services such as home to school transport will be maintained even where passengers numbers fall or services are not required.
“Longer term further measures such as the introduction of tax credits to help companies across the sector experiencing significant loss of revenue may also be required.”
For more coverage of the Budget, see page 14 in this weeks Bus & Coach Buyer.