Not surprisingly bus and coach companies were sectors that were particularly hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. They are also sectors that are struggling to recover, as the tourist industry in Northern Ireland has been very slow to pick up once more. Coach companies rely on tourist trade, taking them to various landmarks and attractions across the country, so without these people, who will not be seen in any volume now until next April at the earliest, their revenue is seriously impacted.
The Industry Has Been Decimated
Here is what Karen Magill, chief executive of Bus and Coach NI, said on this issue, quotes coming from the BBC News website:
“Our industry has been decimated by Covid-19 and at this point in time while other sectors of the economy are recovering, unfortunately we are not.
“We still have 75% of our fleet idle and we wont see any return to business until March or April next year,” she said.
“Despite not being back to full capacity, with little or no income, and restricted demand, we have increased additional costs incurring every day.
“We have significant Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) loans and those increasing Covid debts and restricted demand mean companies are seriously vulnerable.
“If you have a loan of £1.5m, your monthly repayment now is £16,000, and this is based on actual figures from some companies,” she said.
Asked if she expects all operators to survive the next few months, Ms Magill said: “At this point in time, no I don’t.”
Additional Financial Support Is Vital
Ms Magill went on to say that additional financial support that operators could access quickly is vital at this stage, saying:
“We have had two previous schemes through the Department for Infrastructure… at this stage 50% of businesses out there were not eligible for support. There was a formula which should have made life simple but didn’t.
“We had one operator who received £3,200. Out of that, which is what they were eligible for, they had to pay £1,500 out to their accountant as we had to have all figures backed by an accountancy firm.
“Other operators have benefited from the scheme,”
If you have a business that needs financial help, but you are unsure if there are any grants or funding out there that would be available to you, please contact our offices here at WHR Accountants so that we can help you with this. Call us on 028 3752 2909.