Honk for Hope: Coach drivers blow up their horns in central London to protest against lack of financial support from Covid-19


Hundreds of coach drivers have honked their horns in central London to draw attention to the crisis facing the industry due to the coronavirus.

The Honk For Hope protest saw approximately 500 coaches from across the country travel to Parliament Square in a convoy.

Police warned protesters after noise complaints were made from the Palace of Westminster.

Many social media users have spotted the line of buses entering the capital along the A4, with traffic going back several kilometers.

Coach drivers honk outside the Houses of Parliament (Getty Images)

Coach companies have said they feel disappointed with the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, with some claiming to be bankrupt.

In an age when businesses should normally be fully booked with summer tours, many are empty, with staff always on leave.

Protesters demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament (Getty Images)

With the demand for coach travel declining, many drivers are also struggling to reimburse their vehicles, which can reach £ 450,000.

Protesters are calling on the government for a package of support measures, including financial assistance to cope with these payments and an extension of the leave scheme for the industry.

Coach companies in Britain protest lack of government support for industry affected by coronavirus pandemic (Getty Images)

Drivers also request the removal of personal guarantees, which leaves them personally responsible for reimbursements on their buses and could even see them lose their accommodation if they are unable to meet the bills.

Event organizer Jenna Rush, of North East Coach Travel, said: “We know we won’t be moving until next year and we won’t be able to meet our payments for the rest of the year. without some form of government support.

Coach drivers of the Honk for Hope movement protest in central London (REUTERS)

“I now have a coach where I still owe £ 160,000 in funding, but because of Covid, the coach has depreciated to around £ 100,000.

“So if this (loan) company doesn’t help me and I can’t pay, they’ll take it back and take it away from me. But there will still be a shortfall of £ 60,000.

Coach driver wears mask during Honk for Hope procession outside Parliament (Getty Images)

“Because I have a personal guarantee, they will then come to my house and eventually return to my house.

“Every operator is in a position, it’s not just the risk of losing the business, it’s the risk of losing everything.”

On July 15, ministers rejected proposals for additional financial support presented by the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) (Getty Images)

Darren Read, driver at Bakers, added: “It’s just devastating.

“I came back on leave because we had a few school contracts, but we were only taking out one or two children and it is not enough to pay the bills.

“It’s just such an uncertain time. “


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