After such a difficult year for so many people it's perhaps worth reflecting on the effect for businesses in road transport.
Despite financial support packages offered by the UK government the bus sector has suffered, and continues to suffer. Back in May the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) said bus operators were running about 40% of their services for about 10% of the passengers they'd normally expect at that time of year, and as we continue on a path to managing and eliminating the virus it's likely that the trend will continue for some time.
The coach sector is fairing even worse. Without the benefit of government support many coach companies are struggling to meet their financial obligations, particularly in terms of vehicle leasing. A coach is a massive cost, and without the ability to deliver private hire services because of lockdown and restricted movement it's becomes a huge white elephant with a clamp placed firmly over each of its ten wheels.
For goods transport things have been a little brighter, especially for B2C operators. More and more consumers are moving to online as a result of need and convenience, and this is driving the delivery sector in a monumental way; Amazon and other established online retailers have expanded sales further and online sales grew quickly to compensate for closed stores and a lack of physical customers. Online sales have been the major beneficiary of the shift of channel.
So it's a mixed picture overall, but I want to highlight a danger that affects all types of commercial road transport. A drop in standards.
Inevitably there will be casualties on the 2021 to-do list as things get back to normal. The need to kick-start services, deal with a potential backlog and get drivers back on the road could create a scenario where obligations to legal compliance may be overlooked and working standards may become compromised.
It's so important to remember that maintaining your operator licence is fundamental to your business, and while the Traffic Commissioners may allow for a period of recovery the value of your licence cannot be understated. It's sort of like visiting the dentist to maintain your teeth so you can eat to live.
There will be many companies who, initially, won't be able to afford a full time Transport or Fleet Manager. Without someone who can monitor the vehicles, the drivers and the standards there is a risk to a business through punitive measures including licence curtailment or revocation. And that means an inability to service contracts.
Recognising the future need for compliance and standards to be upheld, we've created a new service for vehicle operators with up to 14 vehicles. Our cost effective support will help to maintain a high quality operation without the need to cut corners or take risks, and with prices starting from just £22 an hour (+ £99 monthly retainer) it's a significantly cheaper option than a full or part-time employee.
For more information on our new service check out https://www.easyfleetr.com/transportmanagerservices or call 01825 872477.