Transport User Voice December 2023 – Chief executive’s editorial

29 November 2023

See you soon!

So, my last Transport User Voice editorial. My successor, Alex Robertson, takes up the reins on 1 December. I will still be around in December to help the transition, so will have a chance to say goodbye to many of you. I am not leaving transport altogether as I assemble some non-executive appointments. I have already taken up the role of chair of the Heathrow Area Transport Forum.

What a journey! Nearly 25 years in transport user representation. I started on 15 March 1999 as director general of the Central Rail Users Consultative Committee. We took on bus, tram and coach passenger representation in 2010 and a strategic road user role in 2015. We navigated the pandemic and recently took a lead role in the potential changes to rail ticket offices. The job has taken me all over this great country and given me great opportunities.

Throughout the staff and Board team at Transport Focus has been amazing. Dedicated, professional and hard working they have been a joy to work with. I will miss the ‘family’ very much and anything I have achieved has been built on that strong foundation.

What has struck me over the years is what a people industry transport is. Yes, there is a lot of focus on the kit, but at the end of the day it’s the people involved that make a difference. It has been great working with many of you over the years and thanks to everyone who has said kind words about my contribution. Virtually everyone I know in transport really cares – it’s that sort of job and that energy is infectious.

I will watch with great interest as Alex and Nigel, our chair, lead Transport Focus into its next phase where it will be even more useful, insightful and make more of a difference. A final word? Make transport services reliable and users will forgive you for many other things. Unreliable services breed mistrust which then has to be won back.


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