Hundreds honk for hope as coach convoy drives through Lancashire

More than 250 coaches from across the UK drove through Lancashire to highlight their plight amid the coronavirus crisis.

Drivers from UK companies formed a convoy along the M55 to Blackpool in their Honk for Hope campaign to get the Government to offer more help for travel companies.

The say that firms have been classed as transport rather than leisure companies, and therefore they did not get as much help as they needed.

Jill Swift, owner of Bradshaws Travel of Poulton said: “We have three vehicles out of a fleet of 14 working, doing school work. The majority of our work is holidays and day trips and that has all gone.

Support for coach drivers on the M55 heading to Blackpool

“Realistically that work is not coming back until next year so coach firms need help through the winter. We need the furlough scheme extending for certain sectors and to be classed as a leisure sector. We have staff furloughed but we still have bills and rates to pay with no real income.”

Peter Rosenfeld from Cheshire based Busy Bus who organised the convoy said the turnout was "amazing" and the support for the drivers was a great boost.

But he warned that many firms were struggling and that some big name travel firms, such as Shearings had closed with huge job losses

He said: “We are an important industry. In a normal summer week you would get 1,000 coaches coming to Blackpool, each with 35 people on. That is important to the economy.

More than 250 vehicles joined the Honk for Hope campaign drive

“The Government must offer us more support, to be fair, it probably did not occur to them. The industry is worth £6bn to the economy and we provide hundreds of jobs.”

Jill Swift of Bradshaws Travel in Poulton is backing the drive to get more help for coach firms in the lockdown
The coaches and buses drove to Blackpool and along the Promenade