A COACH company’s chief says his industry has been “forgotten” by the Government as his family-run business battles losses of more than £1million.

Klarners Coaches Ltd, which was officially established back in 2009 but has more than 35 years’ of industry experience, operates out of Colchester.

It is run by director Graham Klarner, who lives in The Grove, Clacton, and offers day trips and tours across the country, as well as a private hire service.

For the bulk of the coronavirus lockdown, however, the business’s stylish fleet of coaches had been unable to leave the depot.

Planned excursions either had to be rescheduled or cancelled altogether, which has had a long-lasting, detrimental impact on Klarners, despite the country now gradually beginning to reopen.

Braintree and Witham Times:

The Essex company, and the wider coach travel industry, has also missed out on an entire summer of business, which it heavily relies on to fund operations during the winter months.

Although the wheels are now slowly beginning to turn again for Klarners, having been told it is ‘Good To Go’ by VisitEngland, the number of passengers that can be accommodated has been restricted.

Mr Klarner says this is simply unsustainable in the long run and the company is fighting - and will continue to fight - significant losses.

“This has been an incredibly difficult year to date, and we had worked extremely hard to secure new contracts,” he said.

“That, coupled with our existing customers, promised a very busy summer for our company.

“But we now estimate we have lost around £1million of turnover since the beginning of lockdown.

“Having invested heavily in updating our fleet during 2019, we will find the winter a real struggle to meet our overheads.”

Braintree and Witham Times:

Despite the Government’s insistence that the coach industry has benefited from an “unprecedented” level of help, Mr Klarner believes it has fallen between the cracks and is often ineligible for support.

The family-run company has, therefore, been taking part in peaceful protests, led by the Honk For Hope campaign, in a bid to highlight to Downing Street the worrying plight of the industry.

Mr Klarner added: “The furlough scheme has been most welcomed, but this will soon be at an end and many companies will have to begin making difficult decisions regarding staffing.

“The Government is yet to provide sector specific support for the coach industry, but we are hopeful it will look favourably on us soon, as it has for buses, trains, and airlines

“Coaches serve many areas, but the coach industry is the first to suffer, and the last to recover.”