Brighton and Hove bus boss picks up top award

Posted On 30 Nov 2011 at 3:35 am

Brighton and Hove Buses managing director Roger French has been given a top bus industry award.

He was praised for his passion and groundbreaking work as he was presented with the Award for Services to the Bus Industry at the UK Bus Awards.

The judges said: “Roger began his career in the bus industry 41 years ago with summer holiday jobs including bus conducting in London.”

They noted that he came to Brighton and Hove almost 30 years ago – in 1982.

The judges said: “He has been at the helm of the city’s buses ever since.

“He was part of the management buyout team of Brighton and Hove Bus Company in 1987 and its subsequent sale to the Go-Ahead Group six years later.

“He is an active participant in the community, being involved in many committees, forums and partnerships including chairman of the city’s Local Strategic Partnership, the Brighton and Hove Business Forum, the Hove Business Partnership and the Martlets Hospice.

“He was awarded an OBE for services to public transport in 2005, an Honorary MA by the University of Brighton in 2007 and became Deputy Lord Lieutenant for East Sussex in 2007.

“His book ‘Pride and Joy – My amazing 25-year journey with Brighton and Hove Buses’ was published in June 2010 and sold more than 1,500 copies in three months with all sales income being donated to charity.”

The citation said: “The Award for Services to the Bus Industry goes this year to somebody whose hard work and dedication has been an inspiration to the whole industry for nearly 25 years.

“His groundbreaking work in the marketing and promotion of local bus services since deregulation has led the way and won many plaudits and awards.

“His and his company’s very close working relationship with local stakeholders, and in particular with local authorities, has demonstrated how a strong and meaningful partnership can deliver a top-quality bus service, in turn creating one of the fastest growing markets for public transport in the UK.

Passionate

“He has been very happy to share this knowledge and experience and he has been a regular and passionate speaker at numerous industry conferences and events – not least those organised by the UK Bus Awards.

“His work in ‘spreading the word’ within the wider industry has been instrumental in raising standards generally.

“Finally, his zeal as a mentor culminated this year in his acceptance of the role of joint patron of the Young Bus Managers Network.”

He was presented with his award at the London Hilton in Park Lane in front of 650 industry movers and shakers by the chairman of Bus Users UK, Gillian Merron. She served as a minister in the last Labour government, including as a Junior Transport Minister.

Congratulating all the finalists, UK Bus Awards chairman John Owen said: “In these difficult and uncertain times, we’ve been both surprised and delighted by the number and quality of entries for the 2011 UK Bus Awards.

“But it gives me very special pleasure to congratulate Roger for the tremendous contribution he has made during his long career, and on behalf of the whole industry, to thank him for all that he has done to raise the profile of the bus both locally and nationally.

“The combination of rising fuel prices and cuts in public spending are making life particularly difficult for everybody involved in bus service provision at the moment.

“Even so, our judges were really impressed by the commitment to quality and innovation shown by bus operators, local authorities and their partners.

“Over five billion passenger journeys are made by bus every year, and the industry has a huge amount to offer in delivering reduced congestion and carbon emissions.

“The finalists in this year’s awards are contributing hugely with their bright ideas and their commitment to customer service.

“They are paving the way for the future success of an industry which remains firmly at the heart of our national life.”

Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company was highly commended in the Marketing Initiatives category for the way that its integrated bus and train project uses PlusBus tickets.

Brighton is a bestselling destination for PlusBus sales to people arriving in the city by train.

But Brighton and Hove Buses spotted a huge untapped market.

The winning project provides an irresistible ticket offer for anyone boarding one of the frequent buses outside Brighton Station – a one-day bus ticket for just £2 instead of the standard price of £3.70.

Norman Baker, the Lewes MP and Junior Transport Minister, made the main speech of the afternoon at the awards which were presented yesterday (Tuesday 29 November).

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