first_imgI’ve had my attention drawn to an article in Passenger Transport in which Alex Warner, a ‘mystery traveller’ on the rail network writes regular articles on the performance and customer service of train operating companies. In the 5 January he makes some disparaging remarks about the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT).He says that the bus industry doesn’t have “a body that consistently brings it together in a way that the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) does in rail.”Yet he then goes on to acknowledge the existence of the CPT noting that it “adds real value to the bus industry.” But he then he expresses a view that “we’re missing a trick here” and that “something that involves, maybe more formally, leaders getting together and pooling resources over time into matters of shared interest, is required.”I’m bewildered. If the CPT is not the organisation that brings the bus industry leaders together then heaven knows what it is. And if it adds real value, why do we need something else to be set up?I’m not going to get into an argument about whether the CPT is a better organisation that the RDG, not least because the rail and bus markets are so totally different that any comparison would be meaningless.The policy, political, operational and financial environments and challenges are fundamentally different, as are the passenger markets served, so what may be good for rail, in terms of how it is represented through trade associations, isn’t necessarily good for bus. There simply is no comparison.All that said, does the CPT need to up its game, or change in some way? After all, no organisation is perfect, and organisations evolve, or should. I’m no apologist for the CPT, but from where I sit it seems to be doing a pretty decent job. Moreover, I’m far from clear what it is that Alex Warner thinks the CPT needs to be doing that it isn’t already doing, or what it is that another body would do that the CPT isn’t doing or can’t do. After all, he tells us that the CPT “adds real value.”.Perhaps some operators need to up their own game in terms of passenger service; and I’ve previously expressed a view that operators need to make sure that they have strong partnership agreements in place with local authorities up and down the country – which seems to me to be something that is still work in progress.But these are matters for individual operators not the CPT. Moreover, membership of the CPT is voluntary and the fact that it has a strong membership base – or so I’ve been told – tells me it must be doing something right.Alex Warner tells us he’s going to give us the benefit of his ideas in terms of “setting something up” to represent the bus industry. Alex, mate, spare us.last_img read more