A coach company that operates buses for the Harry Potter Studio Tour says it feels "overlooked" by the Government.

Watford-based Mullanys Coaches fears it is in a "dire" situation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mullanys, which was founded in 1967, usually supplies coaches for school runs, day trips and the 318 bus service.

But the company's director, Sue Viney, has highlighted the issues the business is facing because of Covid-19 and feels the industry has "fallen through the cracks".

Around 500 coaches from across the country made their way to Parliament Square last month for the Honk for Hope protest. 

Watford Observer:

Mullany's coach drivers before the pandemic. Credit: Mullany's

Protesters were asking the Government for a package of support measures to help coach businesses financially.

Before the virus hit earlier this year, Ms Viney said she predicted that this year was going to be the "best year yet" for the business as there were several bookings for holidays.

Since then, Mullanys has sent out two coaches to "test the waters" and to see if people would feel comfortable to use coach services. Ms Viney added that she has been in touch with people who have booked trips but said there was a split response about using coaches again.

The 318 service is also currently running but it is being subsidised by the Government to help get people back to work.

She added: "We've been having a very difficult time since the end of March. Some people are scared to leave there homes and there is no consumer confidence."

Ms Viney explained the social distancing has also made it difficult to deliver services. Before the pandemic, up to 50 people were allowed on one coach but this has now been cut to 25 which makes it difficult to cover general running costs of the bus.

Mullanys has also not been able to provide the regular home to school service stopped near the end of March when schools closed. Secondary schools were also advised not to take pupils on school trips which are not considered crucial.

Despite not carrying out these services, Ms Viney said there has been no Government funding for companies like Mullanys during the pandemic.

Watford Observer:

Mullany's coaches. Credit: Mullany's

She added: "We have a seasonal business, so in the summer there is more work than the winter, so what we are having in essence is a second winter."

There are currently 43 drivers who are employed at the company, but they're all on furlough and she is waiting to see in the next coming months if there will be enough work for each driver.

She added: "I have spoken to all of my staff so they know exactly what the position is for the industry and company at the moment.

"After the furlough scheme ends we will undoubtedly have to look very closely because we have not got enough work for the drivers we have currently.

"I think the next few weeks will make it more clearer. We will also have to wait to see what the schools say, we don't know how many parents will want to take their children to school."

Ms Viney now wants the Government to acknowledge the industry and help coach companies especially with providing services to schools.

She added: "We would also like help to cover the ongoing costs in the short term and we're speaking on behalf of the whole industry."