Leighton Buzzard coach company will join Honk for Hope demonstration
Marshalls Coaches provide group transport for day trips, commuter travel, schools, business trips, weddings and much more
The owners of a coach company in Leighton Buzzard are heading to London today (Monday) to take part in the Honk for Hope demonstration.
Marshalls Coaches, established in 1974 by Fred and Sheila Marshall and based in Leighton Buzzard, will be taking part in the Honk for Hope movement to raise awareness of the plight of the coach industry after ministers rejected support proposals from the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) on Wednesday, July 15.
Dean Marshall, partner at Marshalls Coaches, said: "The Honk For Hope is a demonstration has been organised to bring to the governments attention the plight of the coach industry.
"This has come about due to the industry failing to get any financial help from the government even though government have spent billions on bus and airplane industry, the coach industry has been forgotten about.
"A number of coach companies have gone into liquidation as they are unable to continue due to financial strain of losing all their income.
"So this protest is all of coach operators coming together to support our industry.
"We are sending a coach and driver down to be part of the convoy to support the protest."
Marshalls Coaches has been fortunate during lockdown and was still able to operate some of the journeys.
Dean added: "Since Lockdown in March we have continued to transport keyworker children into school all the way through the pandemic with last day being today (Friday).
"We have also be doing some rail replacement work at weekends. Recently we have had a few private hire trips with clients.
"The summer period for us is the busiest time of the year for us and to have all our work wiped out has been very difficult, majority of our staff are furloughed and our coaches have been laid up.
"Now the government restrictions and opening of economy is happening we are starting to see some green shoots with coach hire enquiries coming in and bookings."
Marshalls Coaches have implemented a number of changes to ensure the safety of passengers and staff.
Drivers will follow these instructions:
- Each driver will be provided with a PPE pack which will include hand sanitiser, anti-bac wipes, facemasks, sanitiser solution in trigger spray bottle
- Face coverings will be worn by drivers (possible medical conditions exempt)
- Hand sanitising gel will be provided within each vehicle
- Staff to undergo regular hand washing
- Any driver who has a high temperature or new persistent cough or is within 14 days of the day when the first member of their household showed symptoms of COVID come to work, but must follow the guidance on self isolation
- Drivers will be tested daily for a high temperature with forehead infrared thermometer
- The driver should always follow social distancing guidelines where possible
- Targeted surface cleaning of vehicles will occur after each journey e.g. door handles etc
- Floors to be mopped with G101 solution diluted in water
- Fogging machines will be used to fully sanitise vehicles.
- All passengers must use the hand sanitiser supplied on the vehicle when boarding
- When getting off the bus: unload from the front first
- Only sit where requested to do so
- Passengers are required to wear face coverings at all times while on board (possible medical conditions exempt)
- Remain in your seat at all times
- No food or drink
- Take litter and belongings home
- Any passenger who has a high temperature or new persistent cough or is within 14 days of the day when the first member of their household showed symptoms of COVID must not access the school transport service, but must follow the guidance on self-isolation
- Hand sanitiser will be supplied on the vehicles, but we also ask you to provide your own.
Dean added: "We are happy that we are now able to welcome back more passengers with the lockdown restrictions being eased by the Government.
"There are a lot of changes we have made but they have all been made to ensure customer and staff safety.
"With schools fully re-opening in September, we look forward to welcoming back more pupils with all the safety measures in place."