Masons Coaches: the time for coach is coming 17/08/2020
The latest CPT blog post is written by Candice Mason, general manager at Masons Coaches. Candice provides a recap of her involvement with the Back Britain’s Coaches campaign including multiple media appearances and gaining support from MPs, and discusses her hopes for the future of the industry.
I first got involved with Back Britain’s Coaches the week the campaign launched. As general manager of Masons Coaches, I was witnessing the devastating impact Covid-19 was having on the coach industry and I saw the campaign as an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges we are facing, and highlight the vital role coaches play in connecting society, transporting pupils to school, enabling tourism and boosting the economy (to name just a few examples!).
After sending an email specific to Masons Coaches to local newspapers and radio stations, we were featured in papers including Hemel Hempstead Gazette, Bucks Herald and the Leighton Buzzard Observer. I was then invited to talk on a few local radio shows, and to be honest it was quite daunting being given a 20 minute slot to talk about coach! I was really pleased with how it went and I got all the key points across about how coronavirus is impacting operators. The presenters were engaged with what I was saying, and it was heart-warming to receive so many calls from customers after my first interview. People were sending messages of support, and even contacting their local MPs to help us raise awareness.
Thanks to support from Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham, I was able to get involved with a Conservative roundtable discussion focused on the transport sector. This was led by Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of State for Transport. Chris was very understanding about the concerns I raised, especially when it came to issues with social distancing. I came away from the discussion feeling positive that I’d made a key government official aware of the challenges facing the industry and what we need from government to help us survive what could potentially be an 18-month long winter. I’m taking part in another Conservative roundtable discussion next week, which will be focused on issues facing the leisure and tourism industry.
As an industry we’ve been making great progress with Back Britain’s Coaches, however there is still work to do. More people are realising what the knock-on effects would be if we were to lose the coach industry, which is why I’ll continue working to raise awareness of how important coaches are to the UK. The news that Shearings went into administration was devastating, but my hope is that the decision-makers are becoming aware that they need to take action to prevent the loss of more operators. I encourage everyone to continue contacting their local MPs, as they do have the power to take the message to Parliament and help us get our voices heard. I truly believe the time for coach is coming and that by supporting each other we can get through this crisis.
You can keep up to date with Masons Coaches’ latest campaign activity on Facebook @masonscoaches and Twitter @MasonsCoaches. If you would like to contact your local MP, there are template letters available on the CPT website here.