At 11 am on the 14th of June around 250 coaches from over 150 coach operators joined in convoy on the M6 at the junction with the M55.
Members of the coach industry had banded together in solidarity after feeling left out by decisions made recently by the government which make it extremely difficult for these operators to survive in business.
— Foster T&TC (@FosterTachos) July 14, 2020
A number of coach operators have recently folded due to the restrictions imposed due to the virus and many of the operators feel they are being left out in the cold.
Their aim today is to come together to raise awareness for their plight. A gathering of vehicles like this is bound to attract the attention of large media outlets and indeed we have seen staff from the BBC and from other global news outlets on the promenade today.
#Honkforhope is the hashtag being used by the industry in order to organise their messages online.
Not to be overlooked in this situation are the drivers of the coaches. Many of whom are well experienced with working with and caring for the elderly passengers on their coach journeys and day trips. Coaches serve a much wider range of people in various applications from taking kids from school to the swimming baths – right through to conducting full tours of europe for people who don’t like to fly.
Many will remember the cult film from 1963 entitled Summer Holiday where an iconic London red bus was driven on a jolly adventure all the way (somehow) to the south of France across continental Europe. This film captivated the imaginations of a generation of people who could access this sort of adventure for themselves well before commercial air travel had become a viable option for the masses.
In a similar sentiment – Blackpool too holds an iconic glow in the minds of many a visitor who has been beside the seaside.
At one point the great British public could access the railway and a limited number of coaches in order to travel to the seaside from all the mill towns in the North West. The tradition of coming to Blackpool is still alive today – just the past 2 weeks BPL Bible team members have interacted in the town with people from all over the country who all came here as kids and they wanted to re-visit that happy memory.
Our town and the tourism industry we have here – is swayed heavily by he number of coach operators around the country and indeed Europe who are scheduling tours here. More people have access to cars now that’s granted – but with the ups and downs we’ve experienced over the past 5 years on the railway – the number of people coming into the town by train nowadays compared with Blackpool in it’s hey day is minuscule.
Honk For Hope – Europe
There is a massive travel industry based around coaches. Back in May holiday operators and workers started voicing their concerns about the effect the pandemic would have on the industry. This video was uploaded to youtube on the 13th May.
On the 22nd of May this year it was reported that Shearings Holdiays was set to go into administration.
Shearings was Europe’s largest coach tour operator, specialising in holidays including escorted tours, short breaks, river cruises and ocean cruises. On 23rd June 2020 the Shearings name and brand was purchased by Leger Tours part of The UK Holiday Group. This gave some hope to many of the drivers who were facing redundancy.
It’s hoped that the action in Blackpool taken today by drivers and operators will help to further the plight of the industry and hopefully force the government into action to save or better regulate this industry so it may continue.
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