TraPar: A Three-Part Introduction
Coach and Minibus hire
At TraPar our goal is essentially to increase the role of coach & buses in meeting the need for transport that is comfortable, reliable, cost-effective, and eco-friendly. According to the UK Office of National Statistics transport accounts for one fifth of UK emissions (around 34 percent of Carbon emissions according to Carbon Brief), and congestion and maintenance are key issues of road transportation. Taken together, these suggest the need for a transport system that is flexible and dynamic in meeting today’s travel needs while facing the ever present challenges of transport service.
Truly dealing with these challenges is complex and will require concerted action by informed passengers, public and private sector transport providers, and regulation. However a case can be made for facing these challenges in part by focusing especially on the role played by local coach and minibus operators. These are typically family run businesses specializing in coach charter for school trips, tours, group travel, music and sport performances, and other excursions across varying distances. Within the UK alone there are an estimated 3000 such coach operators.
Coach transport travel in comfort
In terms of facing the challenges mentioned earlier there are clear benefits to using coach and minibus operators. From a passenger viewpoint they can be very comfortable. Unlike bus operators, coach operators are incentivized by competition to ensure comfortable travel within a seamless service that travellers can rely on. Features like comfortable seating and spacing, WIFI, and other relevant amenities are now essential towards creating experiences in which journeys are as rewarding as their destinations.
Using coach and minibus services can also be immensely cost-effective. The Department for Transport estimated that 14% of average household expenditure went towards transport in 2018, equivalent to £81 per week. Additionally three-quarters of this transport expenditure went towards motoring costs. Substituting for coach hire could significantly reduce these expenses. And as mentioned in the preceding paragraph the use of this cost effective form of transport need not imply any sacrifices to travel comfort. On the other hand they might also enhance stress free travel by reducing the need for driving.
Green travel with Coach and Minibus transport
Thirdly, coach services can be a sustainable form of green travel. The extent to which this is a decisive factor varies from traveller to traveller, as it does from person to person. But this importance of eco-friendly travel is (we hope) universally acknowledged. By limiting carbon footprint per capita, coaches and minibuses can play a practical part in reducing total transport emissions, which evidence suggests has risen albeit at a slower rate, where total UK emissions have fallen. At the same time the benefits in the form of reduced congestion and increased durability of roads and other transport infrastructure are self evident.
However perhaps the most unique benefit of coach hire is one that is little recognised and therefore insufficiently appreciated; that they can foster a sense of community. This is in the form of passengers showing support for local businesses whose services they can contribute to improving, by their actions and by their feedback. The loop of improving the services that are most accessible to them should contribute to enhancing all the previously mentioned benefits. Not to mention that this socially aware attitude to acquiring a service reinforces (we think) a positive habit that might prove of immeasurable benefit towards social responsible economic development at an aggregate level.
Coming soon: Part 2 examines the challenges of using and providing coach and minibus hire services as a key element of today’s transport system.