Time to shine with National Coach Week
I am old enough to recall a report by, I think, Shearings saying that the coach industry is the Cinderella of travel something wonderful which creeps under the radar of many people.
It was quite clear to most of us that nothing much had changed so far as government is concerned in the dark days of March 2020. There wasn’t a minister or department with a handle of what the coach industry does or the trouble it was in. The Honk for Hope protest was tucked away from the eyes of Westminster like an embarrassing uncle at a wedding.
The coach industry is, to be frank, pretty useless at grabbing media attention and growing a public profile, yet the things you do tug every heartstring and tick every box. You take children to school safely and with great care every morning. You give elderly folk their only chance of a holiday or trip to the coast. Premiership football clubs choose your vehicles for their precious teams, for the flexible nature of your service and the enviable safety record.
You are there on standby when the rail system goes wrong. You fill workplaces with workers. You make people smile on their wedding days. You provide intercity travel for people who could not afford a train or car. And you do this with the most environmentally friendly vehicles of all.
It’s high time this Cinderella stopped scrubbing the floors and went to the ball, and I am delighted to be supporting National Coach Week from 1 to 8 April. The inaugural event, organised by RHA Coaches, it will be on a steep learning curve, no doubt, but follows the success of the RHA’s Lorry Week, now in its seventh year.
National Coach Week cannot work without you, the operators. The RHA stands ready to help, and the Bus and Coach Buyer team will do the same, providing ideas which we hope will grab the attention of the media and, more importantly, your local politicians and council officers. But ultimately, the success of National Coach Week will be down to you.
A few weeks ago, I provided some facts and figures, with more than a little passion, for a freelance journalist working for The Independent. She was astonished at much of this. And duly, The Independent ran an excellent article extolling the industry’s virtues. This can be done.
I am certain of one other thing; the moment you create a media opportunity, every politician and councillor in your area will want to photobomb it, popping up like a Whack-the-Mole at the local fete. Get your thinking caps on. April’s not far away.