Bath Bus Company (BBC) Managing Director Martin Curtis is to retire in early 2021 after 49 years in the bus industry. He will be succeeded by Derek White, who will bring extensive experience including from two of the UK’s large bus groups.
Mr Curtis began his career in 1972 with Bristol Omnibus Company. At that time, the operator was preparing to undertake its first conversion of a double-deck route to one-person operation. Later, under the National Bus Company, he held a variety of posts in the state-owned operator’s South Western fleets. After privatisation he joined Badgerline as Regional Director, Bath.
In 1997 Mr Curtis and three colleagues formed Bath Bus Company. He oversaw its sale to Ensignbus in 2004. Later, BBC became part of RATP. It remains in the French group’s ownership.
Besides operation of open-top tours, BBC is well-known for its Air Decker service between Bath and Bristol Airport, which has been built into a successful commercial undertaking. Mr Curtis has long made great efforts to ensure that the buses used on Air Decker carry West of England-prefixed registration marks.
In addition to establishing BBC, Mr Curtis also contributed to the growth of the City Sightseeing brand globally, spending time in countries including Australia and Greece. He has also been involved with the annual Imberbus event on Salisbury Plain since its inception.
Besides his work in the bus industry, Mr Curtis has authored and co-authored 12 books about it.
He is an acknowledged expert on Bristol Commercial Vehicles and some of his titles examine the defunct manufacturer’s buses. He has also produced works on the New Routemaster and Badgerline.
Despite announcing his decision to retire, Martin Curtis plans to intensify his writing projects. He will also remain available to RATP for short-term assistance and consultancy as required.
Mr White joins BBC with experience of open-top tours in Bath gained during the Badgerline era, when he worked with Mr Curtis. More recently, Mr White has held posts with both First Bus and Stagecoach. In addition, he served as Head of Operations for athletes, media and the Olympic committee at London 2012. He has also been responsible for transporting aircrew and others at the Royal International Air Tattoo and led the London Poppy Appeal bus initiative.