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Bus Bromsgrove

news: Next stop: a Q&A with Emma and Ryan

ITP is delighted to welcome two new additions to its Public Transport team! Both Emma Taylor and Ryan Charlton are based in our Birmingham office. As is now tradition, we sent Emma and Ryan some questions so we can get to know them a little better.

Emma - Associate Director

What projects will you be working with to start with?

I’m really happy to be here, and to join in the new office with a coffee machine is an added bonus! First job for me is familiarising myself with some of Peter’s fantastic work on the BSIP for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority with a view to updating it for 2022 and reflect the recent changes in the bus network as a result of operator funding streams reducing. There's a lot of opportunities for building new bus contracts around the country currently and I'm hoping to work with clients I've worked with in the past and continue to do a brilliant job for them.

Emma Taylor

What do you most enjoy about working in the public transport industry?

For me it’s about people. Firstly customers, trying to understand what they need, when they need it and how much they are willing to pay for it and influencing their behaviours where we can. Secondly of course the workforce in the bus industry is huge and It has to be a well-oiled machine. Every bus depot relies on teamwork - if any piece of the jigsaw is out of place then it immediately falls down, so the pressure is always on. Everyone has a part to play, from cleaners, engineers, operations supervisors, drivers and managers – there are some amazing teams of people doing that every day up and down the country. I still get a kick out of being involved in making that happen, whether I’m helping find road space for bus priority measures or getting a driver out on the road, providing that service for customers really motivates me.

In terms of the future of public transport. What are the main challenges and opportunities for the industry?

There are certainly a lot of headwinds for the bus industry right now. The recovery post-Covid is patchy, financial support is changing, recruiting and retaining drivers is really difficult, everyone wants newer and ‘cleaner’ vehicles and with the cost of living increasing the demand for an increase in pay rates is very much on everyone’s list. As such the cost of running the business is going up and the revenue is down, so the willingness to invest, particularly in costly items like electric vehicles is not really there.

Thankfully the opportunities being created through the projects we are working on helps to address a lot of those challenges and opens doors for longer term investment, new ways of supporting networks and getting the quality that customers want, for a price they can afford to pay. There are so many examples of bus priority infrastructure and investment in services driving huge growth in patronage, so it’s not all doom and gloom but it’s a very challenging time for bus operators and I’m sure we will see more changes in the industry players over the next 12-18 months.

We know you were recently involved with the Commonwealth Games, what was that experience like?

Alexander Stadium Wide Shot

In one word challenging! Putting on a multi-sport event is never easy, but with Covid, turning one athletes' village into five, and bringing clients in from as far afield as Gatwick certainly pushed us to be creative. I’m very proud of what we achieved though, delivering the most sustainable transport solution – both environmentally and financially, creating two brand new temporary bus depots, piloting a DRT service for clients and proving that you can live off coffee and McFlurrys for 6 weeks.

Reflecting back on other projects you’ve worked on in your previous roles, can you talk us through a couple, perhaps the most enjoyable and the most challenging?

    I had an amazing time working on the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Whilst we were not initially engaged to deliver it, I was asked to lead the customer experience element of the directly managed transport (Park & Ride, coach services, Blue Badge parking for competition venues). A great example of how we win a piece of work doing X and then end up doing Y and Z as well! We had the right team, enough budget to build systems to a high standard and a truly customer-focused attitude. What we delivered was brilliant and something I will always be proud of.

    The most challenging has to be Birmingham 2022. The huge last minute changes we dealt with, Covid, complications with driver training, disruption in the airline industry, a huge staff shortage in the bus industry, recruitment issues for the Organising Comittee – it’s shown me how resilient and creative I am, a level of calmness I didn’t know I had and how that the core team we build around us on a project is so key to success and staying on track.

    Ryan Charlton

    Ryan - Senior Consultant

    Have you got any previous work experience in the industry? What projects have you enjoyed the most in your previous role?

    I have been working in the bus industry for 10 years now, starting as a bus driver I then worked as Transport Manager for an airport parking company, then to National Express as Assistant Operations Manager in Coventry and most recently at Arriva in Leicester as Network Manager planning sustainable bus networks following the Pandemic.

    What have you been working on since starting?

    I have been working on bus network review work in Leicestershire, I’m looking at how Cornwall can better integrate different modes of transport and also working on a bus stop audit for Warwickshire.

    What do you most enjoy about working in transport planning / what are you most looking forward to?

    I’m passionate about public transport and the good it can bring to peoples lives, providing affordable and green ways to travel, how it can transform our urban environments with car free areas and connect communities.

    And now for a bit of fun! Where did you last go on holiday / where do you want to go to next?

    Emma: My last holiday was to Cayman, Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao – I love being in and on the sea. Snorkelling on the reef at Bonaire was magical. Unfortunately I got Covid so didn’t get to see Curacao, so I’ve already booked to go back next year and I’m hoping to learn to dive before I go so I can spend even longer under the waves.

    Ryan: I enjoy cruise holidays and just returned on one from Northern Spain and France , my most memorable so far – cruise was Arctic Norway in the winter and my favourite land holiday was Slovenia , Such a beautiful country , warm welcoming people. Next years holiday is a cruise to Montenegro , Croatia and Greece!


    What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you (and you don’t mind sharing)?

    Ryan: I play Golf … Badly!

    Emma: I grew up in Dubai as a child. When we moved out there it was really low key, the Trade Centre was the only landmark to speak of. I can remember telling people at school where we were going and nobody knew where it was – hard to believe it’s now a major holiday destination!

    If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

    Emma: It’s a tough call, but I’m going with Dauphinoise potatoes. I mean it’s got cream AND cheese in it, what’s not to love?

    What superpower would you most want and why?

    Ryan: Definitely to be a mind-reader, I'd love to know what some people are thinking!

    Dauphinoise potatoes


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