MAKE WAY FOR THE RHA – DRIVING THE FUTURE OF THE COACH INDUSTRY
It has been often said that coaches are the ‘forgotten industry’ – unheralded but a integral part of the UK transport system, not only for leisure but transporting over 600,000 students to school each term day, millions of people to work and providing logistic support to make virtually every major sport event , festival, concerts, rally, plus when the UK have hosted major submits, Commonwealth games, Euros, G7 summit and Olympics to name just a few, the success of these events is reliant on the support of the coach industry .
Millions of passengers each day, many who don’t drive rely on coaches for social inclusion and quality of life, to those passengers coaches are not a luxury they are a lifeline for their wellbeing
Furthermore it is often said that coaches are an unofficial emergency service providing support for diverted flights, cancelled trains, ferry companies and local support for flood evacuations. More recently coaches have been used to transport over two thousand troops into Liverpool city region as part of the UKs first testing surge for the covid 19 pandemic, to take visitors returning from red listed countries to isolation hotels and most recently to transport refugees to their designated accommodation.
Despite this the coach industry has lacked a real voice to act on behalf of the operators both nationally and regionally , the overwhelming majority of coach operators are family owned companies who have served their communities for generations but sadly have been accustomed to little trade body support.
Following a period of increasing frustration within the coach industry in November 2020 Richard Bamber Managing Partner of Anthony’s Travel along with Jenna Rush of North East Coach Travel and founder of the UK Coach movement ‘ Honk for Hope ‘ reached out to RHA as aware of the superior representation they provided their existing commercial road users and spoke with Richard Burnet CEO of the Road Haulage Association. Without having a magic wand Richard importantly listened and looked how we can help each other, the synergies between haulage operators and coach operators are far greater than many imagine – predominantly family owned businesses who are rightly proud of their companies and heritage, the drive line is supplied by the same companies, we have the same issues in relation to DVSA, vocational drivers, regulations, clean air zones , the phasing out of fossil fuels and many more to mention – it made perfect sense that a collaborative approach would provide the coach industry with the voice it finally needed .
Following numerous meetings between RHA and operators RHA Coaches was born and the membership went live in March 2021 and is now seen as the ‘ must have trade membership ‘ for the proactive coach operator who wants to drive the future of the industry.
Richard Bamber Managing partner of Anthony’s Travel commented ‘ We are very proud at Anthony’s Travel of playing a small but integral part in helping to establish RHA Coaches and providing coach operators with a trade association they can rightly be proud of , an extensive membership offering whilst ensuring the voices of coach operators are heard, placing the future of the coach industry and the 42,000 people employed sector in good strong hands.
Rod MCKenzie – RHA Managing Director –of Policy and Public Affairs adds :
“The coach industry is a dynamic and competitive sector – vital for the UK economy, especially as we come out of the pandemic restrictions. But there has been a “bus bias” in government, both local and national, and the voice of the coach industry is sadly unheard. The RHA is determined to change that and the membership of Anthony’s Travels is very much part of that alliance with the industry. Anthony’s is a superb setup providing first class, safe services for their customers and the RHA is proud to support Richard Bamber and his team.”
If you want to learn more about RHA Coaches and why it’s the right way for the coach industry visit: https://www.rha.uk.net/coaches
Picture of Richard Bamber and Richard Smith – Managing Director RHA at Anthonys Travel