London coach operators’ group expands to be national association

Anderson Travel Coach

A new membership organisation for coach operators throughout the UK has been created with the rebranding as the UK Coach Operators Association of the body that was originally the London Tourist Coach Operators Association

LTCOA was formed in 1976, and from the beginning of the year has become the UKCOA, seeking to represent those who operate coaches anywhere in the country or into Europe. 

This includes business, education, leisure and tourism – including groups – and specialist work like airport transfers.

Stephen Telling of Falcon Travel continues his role with LTCOA as UKCOA Chair. He says:

“During the very challenging year of 2020, LTCOA continued to grow and evolve, with most new members coming from outside the London area.”

Transition to UKCOA comes with the Association just reaching 50 members. That milestone was achieved recently when York Pullman joined. 

“The membership suggested that we consider changing the name of the Association to recognise that we are now a UK-wide organisation. It also reflects how, as a result of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and the cessation of most work connected with tourism, members require assistance on other aspects of coach operation,” said Telling.

UKCOA says it wants to work collaboratively with members, stakeholders and other trade associations to further the coach industry’s cause. Its mission was outlined at a virtual launch meeting on 18 January. It also says it wants to work to improve the infrastructure and environment in the UK for coach travel.

Suggesting it does not want to be a rival to the main bus and industry trade association, Confederation of Passenger Transport, UKCOA board member Kevin Wilde, Commercial Director of Mitcham Belle Coaches, said.  “We will work with our existing industry partners, including other trade associations, to deliver a ‘strength in depth’ approach.”

UKCOA has in fact been offered a seat on CPT’s Coach Commission. “We are very grateful for that,” says UKCOA Director of Administration and Development Peter Bradley, who previously ran the London Tourist Operators Group.

But UKCOA will also chart its own development, adds board member Mark Anderson, of London operator Anderson Travel. It will independently lobby on the industry’s behalf and it will raise wider awareness of coaches. “We are interested in working together for the good of the coach industry,” adds Mr Bradley.

Part of that will be the promotion of coaching to the wider population, says board member Anthony Marett, Director of operator Maretts Chariots and of Don’t Travel Empty, who will manage UKCOA’s web and social media presence.

Alongside Peter Bradley, Stephen Telling, Kevin Wilde and Mark Anderson, an extended UKCOA board is made up of Judy Dale, Royale European; Anthony Marett, Maretts Chariots; Andy Palmer, A Palmer Associates; Neil Pegg, City Circle; Peter Rice, Southgate and Finchley Coaches and Robert Whelan, Corbel of London.

Besides operators, it will also welcome suppliers in due course. Contact the Association via email for more information.

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