Ecodrive at CPT Dinner

Ecodrive Managing Director Jon Stone was pleased to attend the Confederation of Passenger Transport’s (CPT’s) annual dinner in London last month.

He was invited by the team from ZF Services UK, based in Nottingham.

The CPT is the recognised voice of the bus and coach industry. It represents operator interests on national and international legislation, local regulations and engineering standards.

Left to right: David Wakeling (ZFSUK), Andy Derz (ZFSUK), Jon Stone (Ecodrive), Alex Acosta (ZFSUK).

The event was a great chance to catch up with industry chiefs and raise money for a good cause. Transaid – CPT’s charity partner – helps improve road safety in Africa, where road accidents are a major cause of death.

Over the past two decades, the charity has:

  • Completed more than 50 projects in 20 countries.
  • Trained 28,000 students in professional driver training centres in Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.
  • Transported 25,000 people to medical facilities with Emergency Transport Schemes in Madagascar, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia.

On the night of the CPT dinner a Transaid raffle raised more than £4,000.

In 2017, Ecodrive’s own Graham Evans took part in a charity bike ride from London to Paris to help raise money for Transaid.

The event had a more ominous side too though. Several speakers spoke about some of the challenges facing the bus and coach industry, particularly rising food prices and the effects Brexit.

Many coach operators are concerned about the potential for backlogs at major ports. Repairers and other organisations were equally concerned about securing parts from the continent.

An amusing after-dinner speech helped take the edge off. Former H Samuel group boss Gerald Ratner told the story of how he lost his fortune by saying that the products were ‘total crap’ and ‘were cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn’t last as long’.

The infamous joke cost Ratner his fortune. A ‘Ratner moment’ also became shorthand for a catastrophic gaffe, but the jewellery seller has bounced back with new ventures.