Around 100 coaches came together at Light Water Valley, Ripon on Wednesday, 1 July 2020. It was part of Honk for Hope UK, raising awareness of plight of many coach operators in the UK.
This was most of the coach operators from the North East of country A&A Coach travel Murgatroyd Coach Travels supporting it from the immediate area.
Most coach operators haven’t had any income since lockdown, and only a small number have retained some school contracts.
Coach Operator, John Murgatroyd, said:
This event is intended to raise awareness and help the industry highlight the devastating effect COVID-19 has had on coach travel.
The Government has given the bus industry money, but nothing to the coach industry in funding – the bus industry can still run services.
While we have had no income since March,we still have maintenance costs, vehicle finance and everyday overheads have all had to be paid.
For example, the finance payments on the vehicle I’m in today is £5000 per month, we operate 12 coaches so you can see how quickly the money is draining away.
The vast majority of coach firms in the country are like us: family owned and run and most in 3rd or 4th generations.
I could wash a coach off before I could wash my own hair! – it’s a passion that’s in our blood.
We have been in business since 1935 and it’s heartbreaking to see everything my father and grandfather built up from scratch being in serious danger of complete collapse.
This is industry wide and without help the whole industry will be beyond the point of no return.
To highlight Germany in particular, their government has already promised 170 million euro in aid for their motor coach industry on 17 June.
The coach industry employs around 42,000 people across the UK, including “irreplaceable” highly-skilled drivers. Hundreds of vehicles have already been repossessed by finance firms, with operators losing thousands of pounds every week, maintaining coaches no-one can use. Im sure that losses could affect other avenues, such as the availability of school buses.
Antoni La Pulisa of A&A Coaches Said:
The coach industry has been hung out to dry. Bus companies have had funding and continue to be paid where coach companies haven’t.
Yet we still have overheads finance and insurance to pay. There is a lot of companies struggling and going to the wall – look at Shearings 250 vehicles.
We have had over £400k of work cancelled!
Coaches play a huge part of bringing money in to the economy and for them to be left with no help or support is wrong.
There will be alot more companies closing.