What an industry

It is always sad to hear of the loss of someone in the industry, but the news that we have lost Aled Evans, who ran Impression Holidays, is especially sad.

I met Aled when he was working at Galloway European alongside Bernie Miles, and he immediately created an impression as a really positive guy with an absolute passion for the coach touring industry. It was no surprise to me when he took over a flagging, local tour operation nine years ago.

Impression Holidays impressed right from the start, with beautiful new coaches and a great programme. Aled nursed the company to profit despite having to deal with some very serious health issues himself. He was just 42 when he died, and leaves a seven-year-old daughter.

Silver linings are often hard to find in such circumstances, but I hear that Robert Easton at Eastons Coaches of Norfolk has stepped in as TM and is helping Aled’s parents to resolve his business affairs. This is typical of this industry and typical of Robert. I hope the little company Aled built can be saved; his legacy could not be in better hands.
[since this was written, I have been told that Impression Holidays has closed]


The Community Transport Association’s triumphalism based on comments made by judges at the Judicial Review hearing into ‘non-commercial’ work may be premature.

CTA’s latest newsletter announces that the Bus and Coach Association, which brought the JR against the Department for Transport, has backed down on its claim that running tendered, contested contracts with Section 19 permits is ‘commercial’ work. That’s not quite the case.

“Not so,” BCA’s Martin Allen tells me. “BCA and its members have no problem with the genuine CT operator… that’s always been our view; the devil is in the detail of the principles agreed between the DfT and BCA, and for Mr Freeman to call this a victory is astonishing statement to make… a judgement from the court will not be welcomed by the CTA or Mobility Matters.”

To be fair to the CTA, it does add that until the judgement is made by the court, the full detail of any guidance which will subsequently be issued by the DfT will not be known.

The real problem is that you could drive a Plaxton Panorama through the loopholes in the current system. If it remains unchanged in allowing unqualified issuing bodies to dole out permits without any test of the recipient, then to ask Traffic Commissioners to spot permit infringements over which they have no initial oversight, it remains a Horlicks.

In my view, this situation can only be resolved by legal clarity, not endless interpretation of wavering guidelines.

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