Coach convoy set to drive through Lancashire in plea for more Government help

Hundreds of coaches are set to drive to Blackpool to highlight their plight during the coronavirus crisis.

Monday, 13th July 2020, 3:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th July 2020, 1:06 pm

The convoy was due to head along the M55 and then along the seafront on Tuesday with vehicles congregating at 11am at the M6/M55 junction.

Organisers say that coach firms have not received enough help from the Government, due to many of them not being classed in the leisure and tourism sector, which got extra help.

They say that towns such as Blackpool are missing out on thousands of day trippers costing the economy a fortune and that it would be in everyone’s interest for the government to offer more financial support as it has done with the culture sector.

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Staff from scores of coach companies will be driving to Blackpool to highlight the struggles of the industry amid the coronavirus crisis

Peter Rosenfeld from Cheshire-based Busy Bus said: “Since Covid stuck in March our industry has ground to a staggering halt with an unprecedented 95 per cent of the UK’s coaching fleet stationary.

“Coach travel is an essential part of the British transport infrastructure. From day tours to holidays, school services to sports teams, events, concerts, weddings, culture, heritage, we are an industry worth saving.”

He said the sector would like further support like the tourism sector recently got and an extension for repayment of Covid loans as they are not likely to be fully back to work until next March.

He added: "We realistically don't think we will be back to work before March and April next year as we are at the top of the pyramid of things when it comes to coronavirus.

The coach convoy heading to Blackpool via the M55 today (July 14)

"Our customers are mainly in the older bracket, or are international, often from countries associated with a higher Covid risk such as Asia and also we operate vehicles which can be seen as confined spaces. So we are not likely to be busy again until next year. We will be trying to survive three winters in a row, winter 2019, Summer 2020 which has been wiped out and Winter 2020-21.

"Please give a honk for each of the thousands of coach operators and their 42,000 employees delivering £6bn a year to our once prospering, now diminishing economy."