First Speakers Announced for Coach & Bus UK 2017

First Speakers Announced for Coach & Bus UK 2017
Giles Fearnley, managing director of First Group’s UK Bus Division will, head up the show’s Theatre line-up.

Giles Fearnley, Steve Whiteway, Helen Scholes, and Adrian de Courcey, are among the top speakers now confirmed for Coach & Bus UK 2017, which returns to the NEC Birmingham on 4th and 5th October 2017.

Coach & Bus UK 2017, the new name for Coach & Bus Live, is preparing for its best edition yet. For 2017, there is over 16,000 sqm of exhibition space – transforming the NEC’s Halls 17-19 into a giant showcase of the latest ‘must have’ buses, coaches, mini and midi vehicles, equipment, parts, accessories, technology, and business services.

The Theatre at Coach & Bus UK, sponsored by SmartDrive Systems, will feature a host of high-profile experts from across the bus and coach industry. They’ll be sharing their insights into some of the hot topics affecting today’s public transport community, including recent developments in green vehicle technologies, contactless payments and mobile ticketing, congestion and the Clean Air agenda, electric vehicle roll out, customer engagement, and more.

Giles Fearnley, managing director of First Group’s UK Bus Division, heads up the show’s Theatre line-up, appearing in an exclusive opening day Keynote. Fearnley, who is also a member of the Greener Journeys advisory board, has spearheaded First Bus’ industry-leading approach to operating cleaner and more fuel efficient vehicles.

Over the past five years, the company is reported to have invested almost £370m in more than 2,000 new buses (including a record £73 million order for 355 EURO VI buses in 2016), and now operates the largest fleet of DfT certified ‘Low Carbon Buses’ within the UK. He’ll be discussing the challenges of the last two years and the opportunities ahead at 11am on Wednesday 4th October 2017.

Other opening day session highlights include a compelling look at effective marketing strategies for operators, hosted by consultant Steve Whiteway and Stagecoach South West’s marketing manager Helen Scholes. Scholes will be drawing on examples from Stagecoach’s recent marketing campaigns (such as sponsoring Sci-Fi day at Children’s Week in Torbay earlier this month) to illustrate how mutually beneficial external partnerships can help promote public transport to a wider audience; and the next generation of passengers. Whiteway, former MD of Epsom Coaches, will be sharing practical advice garnered from his 37+ years in the coach travel sector.

“Coach & Bus UK is the highlight on my calendar, providing me with innovation and inspiration all in one place,” says Steve Whiteway. “This year, I am especially looking forward to speaking about how to maximise business as a coach operator at no cost, and look forward to sharing my experience with my industry colleagues.”

The Clean Air agenda
Dan Hayes, project manager at Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, will be giving an update on LowCVP’s recent activities, including a preliminary evaluation report on the UK coach market. He’ll outline how carbon and air quality are finally being addressed in unison, touching on the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme to be used for vehicles to gain access to Clean Air Zones.

Adrian de Courcey, CEO of Travel de Courcey, is the first panellist to be announced for day two’s opening session, which will focus on profitability and business growth in the coach travel sector. Well-known for his tech-savvy approach – leading the way in adopting the latest innovations on the market (like big fast-charging electric buses and smart telematics, for example) – he’ll be sharing his insights on how new and next generation technologies can help operators develop more effective ways of working. Under his leadership, Travel de Courcey recently won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of Sustainable Development. The only bus or coach operator to ever have been recognised for this honour.

Another new speaker for 2017 is Estibalitz Aramburu, business development manager at Jema Energy SA. She’ll be discussing ‘Integrating electric mobility in cities’ in the show’s closing session. According to the latest report from the Zero Emission Urban Bus System (ZeEUS) project, the UK is leading the rest of Europe in electric bus deployment. With more electric buses hitting the UK’s streets in the next year, the session will examine how these vehicles can be integrated into the distribution grid, and their impact on local infrastructure, load profiles and demand.

The full 2017 line-up is due to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Free trade tickets
Senior representatives from National Express, Stagecoach, First Group, Arriva, The Go-Ahead Group, Metroline, Abellio, Transdev, RATPDev, Translink, Brighton & Hove Bus & Coach Co, Metrobus, Reading Buses, Nottingham City Transport, trentbarton, Bus Eireann, Lothian Buses, Shearings, Centrebus, Edwards Coaches, Bakers Dolphin, Transport For Greater Manchester, Transport for London, and Tower Transit, are among the who’s who of visitors that have already pre-registered to visit. Over 6,000 attendees are expected.

To register free in advance, please visit coachandbusuk.com.

Lastly, the prestigious routeone Awards take place on the first night of the show (Wednesday 4th October 2017) in the Monarch Suite at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel. The 2017 finalists are now available to view at routeoneawards.com/categories.

Tom Harrison
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