CPT warns coach operators could go under
Over 550 coach operators have written to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, warning that without urgent support many of their businesses will go under as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter was coordinated by the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT). It warns that 1,000s of family businesses are at risk because coach operators are still facing costs of on average £1,900 per day, according to the CPT, despite mothballing coaches and furloughing staff, but with no income or support from the Government. Despite the spring and summer being the traditional peak period, the CPT says only 2% of coaches normally involved in a range of tourist trips are currently being used. The trade organisation claims bookings are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until summer 2021, which it says places over 40,000 jobs at risk.
The three point support package operators are calling for includes:
- A cash injection into the industry worth £65m a month, backdated to the beginning of the pandemic, to help the industry cover its costs for the rest of 2020.
- An extension to the furlough scheme beyond the current October end date
- Confirmation that coach tour operators are to be treated as leisure businesses for the purposes of Covid-19 support.
CPT Chief Executive, Graham Vidler, said: “Without question the industry is in a fight for its future and feels forgotten by government. This injection of cash into the industry along with the continuation of the furlough scheme is vital. Ending the furlough scheme in October means asking coach operators to pick up wage costs in full in the midst of the low season for coach travel. Without this support and the recognition that coach travel is a leisure business many operators will go under as a result of the 18 month winter they are facing with little to no bookings.”