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Millbrook 2019
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April 25 2019
By Martin Dean

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) President for 2019, Martin Dean has been Managing Director of Bus Development of Go-Ahead Group PLC since July 2008.

He leads and acts as a focal point for all bus development activity throughout Go-Ahead Group, assists with the development of bus policy and strategy and provides additional group resources for its bus companies.

He joined Go-Ahead in 2008 from First Group, where he was Business Development Director of the UK Bus Division, and served as its Project Director for Commercial.

He held roles at National Express. Mr Dean began his career with London Transport.

CPT’s vision: Waiting for right time

What does the bus industry stand for? CPT’s Bus Strategy will reveal all

My thanks to Westminster Watcher [routeone/10 April] for raising the important point about the much-promised Bus Strategy: Where is it and what will it contain?

‘Government is distracted at the moment by Brexit’

First off, why have a Bus Strategy? Well I would say what is in the final stages of production is more of a 'vision' than a strategy but the important point regardless of it being a strategy or a vision is that we are putting together something that will define what the industry stands for.

Positive role

A reasonable challenge from a previous Buses Minister was: I know what you're not happy about, but I don't have any sort of document that summarises what you stand for, what your values are and what your vision is.

CPT’s vision will set out the direct contribution we make to the lives of our customers, but it will also focus on the point that we are not just a means to an end to get people from A to B. We make a much wider contribution to the economic and social wellbeing of the communities we serve. And, of course, a very positive contribution to air quality that needs to be made in our urban areas.

Westminster Watcher is concerned that this might all be a bit too “high level”, but it is important to set these out because we still have a lot to do to get the message across about the positive contribution we make.

Worth the wait

CPT’s aim is to show that by demonstrating the wider benefits, we can make a good case for continuing investment in our industry by central and local government – whether it be BSOG, concessionary fares or infrastructure. I use the term investment pointedly because, as Greener Journeys’ research has shown, if you invest in bus you get a good return.

So, why has it taken so long? Westminster Watcher wants some hard commitments and we have been able to provide some exciting obligations but inevitably they take a bit of debate, especially, as Westminster Watcher recognises, we are quite a diverse industry.

Plus, there is the point of timing. Government is distracted at the moment by Brexit. We want to choose a time that maximises the impact when we publish. Given the delay to October we may need to review but it is tricky. There is also the timing of the Comprehensive Spending Review to think about, but this was due in the autumn and we don't know its status with the Brexit delay.

Strategy is coming

CPT’s bus strategy is on its way and I'm confident it will provide all CPT members with useful material, especially if you are asked by your stakeholders “why should I be interested?”

We hope it will be embraced by the wider bus community including our all-important suppliers. And don't worry if the coaching fraternity is reading this and thinking “what about us?” – there's a coach strategy in development hot on the heels of bus.

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