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August 30 2017
By Mel Holley

Mel was routeONE magazine’s Editor until autumn 2018. He has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Coach & Bus UK 2017: First
Theatre speakers announced

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 4-5 October. 

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, MD of First Group’s UK Bus Division, heads the show’s Theatre line-up, appearing in an exclusive opening day Keynote. 

Mr Fearnley has spearheaded First Bus’ industry-leading approach to operating cleaner and more fuel efficient vehicles. He’ll be discussing the challenges of the last two years and the opportunities ahead at 1100hrs on Wednesday 4 October.

Other opening day session highlights include a compelling look at effective marketing strategies for operators, hosted by former Epsom Coaches MD Steve Whiteway and Stagecoach South West’s Marketing Manager Helen Scholes. 

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[1], 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.   

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, visit

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

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