The UK Coach Operators Association held its launch today, with the mission statement ‘Run by coach operators for coach operators’ as it takes the role of a UK-wide trade body.
This marks a step-change for the former LTCOA (London Tourist Coach Operators Association) in adopting a UK-wide role within the coach industry.
It also coincides with reaching the milestone of 50 members, as York Pullman joins the association, representing around 1,500 vehicles and upwards of 2,500 people employed.
Recent new members include:
- Anthony’s Travel (Runcorn, Cheshire)
- Applegates Coaches (Berkeley, Gloucestershire)
- Bayliss Executive Travel (Dover, Kent)
- Johnson Brothers (Worksop, Nottinghamshire)
- Mayday Travel (Croydon, London)
- Paul S Winson Coaches (Loughborough, Leicestershire)
- Slacks Coaches (Matlock, Derbyshire)
- York Pullman (York)
Stephen Telling, Chair of the UKCOA says: “During the very challenging year of 2020 the LTCOA continued to grow and evolve, with the majority of new members coming from outside the London area.
“The membership suggested that we consider changing the name of the association to reflect that we are now a UK-wide organisation.
“It also reflects that, as a result of the pandemic and the cessation of most work connected with tourism, that members require assistance on all other aspects of coach operation.”
The UKCOA will continue to work with industry partners to represent the views of its’ members and the coach industry, which will be directed at both local and central Government, and other key stakeholders ensuring the importance and standing of the industry is fully recognised.
Membership services include:
- A crisis control centre
- Compliance assistance
- Regular updates on issues affecting the coach industry
- A PSVAR working group
- A development group looking at future strategy for the coach industry in connection with clean air zones
- A development group investigating Section 19 & 22 legislation and enforcement
The UKCOA says that it appreciated that it needed to further strengthen its board of directors, and is therefore pleased to welcome three new members.
The Board now comprises of:
- Stephen Telling (Falcon Travel), UKCOAChair
- Peter Rice (Southgate and Finchley Coaches), UKCOA Finance Director
- Peter Bradley, UKCOA Director of Administration and Development
- Mark Anderson (Anderson Travel)
- Judy Dale (Royale European)
- Anthony Marett (Maretts Chariots)
- Andy Palmer (A Palmer Associates)
- Neil Pegg (City Circle)
- Robert Whelan (Corbel of London)
- Kevin Wilde (Mitcham Belle Coaches)
The new Association was formally launched with an open meeting on Zoom, with more than 70 coach operators in attendance.
Opening the meeting Mark Anderson explained that the decision to rebrand and widen the association’s scope had been asked for by its members.
“We know what coach operators are going through, we share the pain,” he said.
Added Neil Pegg: The LTCOA was created in 1976, and it has always been about support for its members to make their life easier and their businesses better.
“It started as a platform to discuss, challenge others and solve the problems of the day.
“In short they had each others’ backs and that continues to today.
“The association has, and will always be, led by its members. All meetings enable members to speak directly to the board.
Kevin Wilde added that the association already has direct links with government and will continue to work with other trade bodies to give a strength-in-depth approach.
Responding to a question in a Q&A session Neil Pegg said: “While we don’t have any specific ambitions for the association’s size, there is strength in numbers as that makes our position better when talking to other bodies and government. So, the as big as possible, is our aim.”
Mark Anderson says that UKCOA welcomes new supplier members: “We will not take your money and run for the hills. You will have access to members and see the benefits.”
On the subject of the CPT, Peter Bradley said: “We have good working relationships with the CPT, and were recently invited to have a place on the CPT Coach Commission.
“We don’t always agree with other trade associations, but will continue to work constructively with all of them. We’re not proposing to replace any existing trade association. It’s not a case of being in the CPT, or other trade bodies, or UKCOA. You can be in both.”
The UKCOA has also set out its membership rates. Full membership is open to all coach operators who hold a valid O-Licence and insurance:
- 1-10 vehicles £325/year
- 11-50 vehicles £425/year
- 51+ vehicles £525/year
It also announced a £100 discount if an applicant successfully introduces a new member to the UKCOA. This launch offer can be only used once per applicant.
Summing up, Mark Anderson concluded about the launch: “Coach operators have for too long been the Cinderallas in a Cinderella industry. It’s time to go to the ball.”
The UK Coach Operators Association was originally the London Tourist Coach Operators Association, formed in 1976;
Today, with over 50 members, the UKCOA represents coach operators who provide services of all types of coach travel including business, education, leisure (including sport and entertainment), airport transfers, local public services and tourism;
Together with our industry partners, it works to improve the infrastructure and environment in the UK for coach travel;
The Association welcomes new members who share these aims and objectives. For details, please contact Peter Bradley, Director of Administration and Development at [email protected] or on 07802 679795.