Masons and other operators talk to MPs

The plight of the industry is being highlighted to Parliament as operators in the south step up the [pressure on local politicians

Coach operators around the country have been alerting their MPs to the plight of their businesses, including Masons Minibus and Coach Hire, in Hertfordshire.

The company’s business development manager, Candice Mason, worked her contacts to alert local MP, Greg Smith, to the problems right at the start of lockdown: “I then supplied weekly updates and had Zoom meetings.”

Her persistence paid off when the MP brought up in Parliament the subject of the problems the coach industry is facing: “He mentioned ourselves but then went on to give an indication of the coach industry as a whole,” Candice told Bus and Coach Buyer.

Candice – who came late to the industry via her husband, James, then stayed – has made local and national politics part of the campaign, sitting on two ’round table’ political focus groups, one in transport, the other tourism, which has given the industry’s story an airing in a political arena where it can do most good.

Candice joined Masons five years ago to help out for a year: “I have enjoyed it. We’ve grown from five vehicles to 18 in that time, launched a holiday and day tour programme, and seen our school transport grow to serve 500 children every day.”

Candice says Masons is in the sound financial position which should give them a good start when the wheels begin turning again. It has a smart website and a huge social media following.

In a membership update, CPT says other southern operators have also been getting the attention of Parliament. Tim Southby at Heathside Coaches has been in close contact with his local MP, Sir Christopher Robert Chope OBE the Conservative politician for Christchurch. Max Fletcher at Bakers Dolphin secured an audience with John Penrose MP for Weston Super Mare, and Ken Hemmings, at Hemmings Tours, has had a very constructive couple of hours with Sir Geoffrey Cox MP for Torridge.

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