Beverley based firm Acklams Coaches were one of 200 coach operators who descended on the capital for the ‘Honk For Hope Protest.’
Over four hundred coaches took the streets of London including four from Beverley. While there they sounded their horns as they looked to highlight the issues faced by the industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acklams Coaches which is located on Barmstom Close employs 130 people. They say they are fully committed to keeping them all employed and staff are keen to get back to work.
Since the start of the pandemic, they also say business is 97pc down. School trips, concert coaches, holidays and sports teams have all cancelled bookings.
Speaking to HU17.net business owner Alam Acklam said;
“The protest was organised to highlight the issues being faced by our industry. To date, we have had no help while bus operators have received help covering lost revenue.”
“We were very pleased with the turnout and how the protest went. In all, there were around 420 coaches while about 200 operators attended. Those there had come from every corner of the UK.”
Mr Acklam says that himself and those in the same industry are not looking for handouts.
He says their sector just want the government to extend certain schemes so they can rebuild their businesses.
Honk For Hope Protest Shows Feeling Within Industry
Mr Acklam added;
“This is not about us asking for money. We just want the government to extend the furlough period even if its at a reduced rate. Also, we would like them to extend the holidays on asset finance payments.”
“If they do this then we can all start to rebuild our businesses. We would also like to see the government encourage people to get back on coaches. If you can get on planes then why not coaches?”
“The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) our industry body has approached the Government with these main points. They had not had a response until last week’s meeting with Baroness Vere when they were told there was no support.”
CPT Chief Executive Graham Vidler says help is desperately needed by the industry. He says help is needed as a result of cancellations and a fall in new bookings.
“Monday’s event shows the strength of feeling within the coach industry about the lack of COVID-19 support they have received from the government.”
“The industry will be central to helping 100,000s of children return to school in September. But its ability to do so is being put under threat through a failure to provide much-needed help.”
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