The RHA is bringing together its expertise and the knowledge gained from supporting operators of commercial vehicles for over 76 years to introduce a brand-new membership designed specifically to support coach operators.
The coach industry has been hit hard by Covid-19 with cancellations, social distancing and reduced demand from events and tourism seeing operational mileage significantly down.
With 90% of the UK fleet parked up, the sector requires urgent support, operational guidance and tailored solutions to support business recovery.
RHA Coaches will launch in April 2021 and top coach industry players Richard Bamber (Anthony’s Travel, Runcorn), Andrew Scott (Stanley Travel, Co. Durham) and Jenna Rush (North East Coach Travel, Newcastle) have been instrumental in its creation.
Says Richard Bamber, Managing Partner, Anthony’s Travel: “The coach industry is an essential but unheralded part of the UK transport system which usually tends to go under radar and unheard.
“By joining forces with the RHA we are able to finally provide a voice that will be loud and proud for coach operators.”
Andrew Scott, Director, Stanley Travel adds: “This new membership is exactly what the industry needs after such a turbulent year. The RHA has a track record of driving business on our roads and will provide operators with the solutions, guidance and expertise needed to support business recovery.
“It is a must-have for coach businesses in 2021.”
“The RHA’s experience of lobbying government to lead change puts it in a unique position to support our sector. I look forward to utilising the services, guidance and expertise offered by their newly expanded coaches team in the future,” says Jenna Rush MD at North East Coach Travel, who has been leading the ‘Honk for Hope’ campaign.
2020 has been a difficult year for the coach industry with demand from schools, events and tourism significantly reduced due to Covid-19 restrictions.
It is clear that the sector requires urgent support with industry approaching the RHA, whose experience of working with government to lead change puts them in a unique position to support coach business moving forward.
Richard Bamber, Managing Partner at Anthony’s Travel, adds: “This is truly part of new beginnings for the industry, where operators will benefit from the RHA’s long-established strength within government, their expertise and increased access to commercial partners. It provides assurance at a time we need it most and puts the coach industry in a much stronger position for the future.”
Many operators feel let down by the representation offered by their current trade body, thereby providing the RHA with an opportunity that fits with its strategic direction – to be the representative authority for driving business on roads. Its membership now includes commercial vehicles, trucks, vans, plant and coaches.
The RHA’s membership numbers have continued to rise during 2020 which is a clear indication that even in these unprecedented times, operators want the security of an organisation they can trust, that has their best interests at heart and can also provide the support they need.
As an RHA member, coach operators will gain access to the same intelligence, support services and resources offered to all RHA members but with the added benefit of some sector-specific support designed to help coach operators maintain productive and profitable operations.
To manage this new specialist group, the RHA is expanding its team and recruiting both operational and policy roles from this field of expertise.
Richard Burnett, Chief Executive at the RHA, says: “I’m sure the immediate reaction of some to this news will be inevitably be one of surprise, however there are remarkable similarities and synergies between the operators of HGVs and coaches.
“Coach fleets vary in size – the smallest having less than 10 vehicles and the largest around 100-150. Many are family-run businesses with depots in one or two regional locations, operating a range of different vehicles sizes to meet the demands of their customers.”
About the RHA
The RHA is the only UK organisation solely dedicated to those with responsibility for the movement of goods by road. Members range from owner-operators to those with fleets in excess of 1,000 vehicles. The Association has over 7,000 operators in membership who between them account for 250,000 UK-registered heavy goods vehicles.
Find out more at: www.rha.uk.net