At the London Tourist Coach Operators Association / Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport workshop on Operating Coaches in London in September 2019, Mark Anderson, MD of Anderson Travel presented the view from the industry. He concluded with an action plan for all those involved with the industry (i.e. both operators and stakeholders).
- Effective communication – both sides talking & meeting regularly;
- Coach operators stopping bad habits
- Engine idling;
- Paying for parking bays they occupy;
- Keeping within the Code of Conduct for pickups & set downs;
- Empathy towards other road users;
- From local & national government
- Effective & meaningful stakeholder engagement on a regular basis;
- Easy & cost-effective solutions to ongoing problems;
- Relevant & regular assistance with driver & management training.
Whilst much of this is not new, it is a succinct summary of some of the key issues that needs to be addressed. Mark never said it was an exhaustive list, but for him, as an operator, it was those that were on the top of his!
In particular the issue of paying for parking bays is very topical. Many drivers think they are ‘doing the boss a favour’ if they manage to save the parking fee. However, if there is no payment, those providing the bay will be receiving less income than expected and can draw the conclusion that they are not being used. Given the pressure on kerb space you may find that next time you visit London those bays are now for residents!
Whilst there is much for TfL and local authorities to do to improve facilities for coaches in London we, as an industry, need to do more to help ourselves. Please resolve that when you use a coach parking bay, in London or elsewhere, that you ensure your driver pays for the privilege where payment is due.