It is always the same every year, isn’t it? We all start the new year with the best of ambitions and New Year resolutions to effect better things in life and better choices. However, if you are anything like me, they might last 5 minutes before you just meander back to the usual routine. This year, though, I am going to instead get out my Mystic Meg magic ball and try some predictions about what the year holds for uTrack and the bus and coach industry. As we are both joined at the hip, so to speak, to help provide the very best experience for our collective customers.
I predict that we will see significant passenger growth. The great uncertainty here is the small matter of the general election, where it is quite possible that we may see a change in the leadership of the country, after 13 years of Conservative control. There have been years of apathy towards the bus and coach industry, which has witnessed a massive reduction in mileage across the whole of the UK, but especially in rural areas, since before the Tories took over. Although, like him or loathe him, I have to say that Boris actually put his hand in his pocket and donated lots of real money to keep the wheels turning, as well as money to invest in new technologies as part of the battle to cut emissions and make it a greener, safer place to bring our kids up after decades of toxic fossil fuel.
Greener Support Funding
My big hope is that this funding will be rolled out to allow smaller operators to join the journey. The reality is that the vast majority will not have the capital required to buy these vehicles and pay for the chargers needed to support them. If they do not get this support, I fear more will close down, which is certainly not what we want to see.
How much funding will the industry get when it comes to BSOG funding, a vital support given to buses, which has been under review recently? Also, will the government continue positive funding for the £2.00 capped fare and other initiatives found in some parts of the UK for young people who get free travel? I can only hope that they will, whatever political shade – red, blue, or indeed yellow – continue to understand the benefit of investing in the bus industry. And indeed, even worse, the ramifications on society if they do not.
Skill Shortage Recognition
My next hope is that the government will recognize the benefit of putting drivers, both bus, coach, and freight, as essential workers. As Napoleon Bonaparte used to say, ‘An army marches on its stomach,’ so if you cut off the supply of drivers to both these vital sectors, then we all lose, in my opinion. No supplies to the troops or indeed the nation, then no good. In addition, I would like to see a lot more effort put into training young people to join the industry, possibly some apprenticeships offered at sixth form colleges and higher education centers. There is also no interface at all with the education system at any level, primary, secondary – absolutely nothing – that would encourage young people to consider a career as a professional driver. After all, not everyone wants to go to university, so why not offer young people the chance to have a good job that pays decent money and contributes to society by driving a bus and keeping society moving?
Blue Skies Ahead hopefully
I also envisage exciting developments in the world of technology, with uTrack looking forward to launching some great new products and acquiring clients, but that will emerge soon. This concludes my predictions for 2024. Let us see what happens; either way, uTrack are committed to making public transport amazing.