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School transport, day trips & holidays at risk, say Tring coach company

Masons have joined a national campaign, calling on the government to include them as part of the leisure industry.

Published by Dan Gooding at 5:42am 6th May 2020. 4-minute read.

School transport, day trips & holidays at risk, say Tring coach company

You might think of them as part of the leisure industry, but a coach company in Tring say the government disagrees right now.

That means the future of coach companies like Masons is uncertain.

They have had to furlough around 20 staff who are all from the local area and have lost thousands of pounds due to cancelled bookings and that could mean a £500k loss by the end of July.

However, right now, they are not included as part of the leisure industry, which has been eligible for support from the government.

Candice Mason told us:

"We're really concerned that when the furlough stops, what will happen for our staff?

"If it stops in June, our staff positions are really at risk and we are a really family-orientated company and so it would be like letting our family go."

She said that the government needs to change its criteria as businesses like theirs could be affected for much longer than the next few months.

What could be lost?

Bus
School transport could be affected

Candice says a lot is at risk:

"It's not just about the day trips and excursions and holidays that we personally organise, but for the local community, for every WI group, U3A group and their outings.

"Anytime anybody is planning a wedding and they need to transport their guests, we might struggle to offer that moving forward."

The company also supports a huge number of schools in Hertfordshire and across the border here in Buckinghamshire.

A big chunk of work for Masons comes from working with schools, for trips, swimming lessons and residential weeks.

The worry is also about home-to-school transport, with 500 children transported by the company to grammar schools in Aylesbury each day.

Candice added:

"At the moment we have got 500 children who are potentially at risk of not having school transport moving forward.

"A lot of our parents pay up-front for the year and if the children don't go back until September or they go back in June, we are going to have to pay a lot of refunds."

A national appeal

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has started ‘Back Britain’s Coaches’ a major initiative calling on the Government to provide support for the coach industry during the Covid-19 outbreak.

CPT’s Graham Vidler said:

“At this hugely difficult time, CPT is working with members across the country to “Back Britain’s Coaches”. To help shape the campaign, CPT has worked with coach operators across the UK to find out what support they need during this crisis, and will work with Governments across the UK to secure support for the industry.

“Anyone who would like to find out more about the campaign and how they can support it can visit the resource centre on the CPT website, which will include social media graphics people can share on their social media accounts to raise awareness of the campaign. CPT members will also be able to find resources they can use to contact their local authority to access support that is already available.

“Once the Covid-19 outbreak is over we will all need to work together to repair the damage done to our local economies. If we want to bring tourists back into our local areas, get people back in our theatres, shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, reinstate educational trips and help those who have been forced to spend a considerable length of time in isolation get back out and about, not to mention get people back to school and work, it is vital that coach businesses have the financial support to withstand the current crisis.”

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