‘They’re listening’: Honk for Hope organiser
The Cardiff Honk for Hope event brought more than 80 coaches to the streets of the Welsh capital and generated TV coverage for coach operators’ plight.
Organiser Ceri Taylor, who runs Gloucestershire-based Applegates Coaches, told Bus and Coach Buyer that the event got coverage on regional ITV, including a visit to his won premises from an ITV team compiling a news report.
Bus and Coach Buyer’s photographer was at the event, and witnessed the procession pouring through Cardiff: “We’re still pushing to get recognised,” said Ceri. “Maybe this is an industry which doesn’t like admitting when it’s in trouble. We accept all the legislation, re-invest and just move on. But we’re not going away this time.”
Ceri said that a large number of MPs have now brought the plight of the coach industry to the attention of Westminster, and been present at Zoom meetings to hear the problems operators have: “The CPT tried but got a flat nose straight away. Honk for Hope means they are now listening.”
Ceri said that Applegates has now spent more than £35,000 upgrading vehicles to PSVAR, and in its Euro VI coach fleet. The lockdown disaster happened just as his company was enjoying record bookings.
“Three years ago, hirers had to call three or four weeks in advance to get a vehicle. Early this year, we had to stop bookings, then the pandemic struck. Since then, we’ve run three day trips and barely covered the fuel cost.”
- Honk for Hope is arranging another procession in London, due to take place on 1 September.