Coach & Bus UK 2019: Stagecoach and TfL chiefs confirmed for opening day Keynotes

Posted: 2 September 2019 | | No comments yet

Martin Griffiths, CEO of Stagecoach Group, and Gareth Powell, MD of Surface Transport at Transport for London (TfL), will host opening day Keynote sessions at this year’s event.

Stagecoach & autonomous buses

Mr Griffiths will be making his speaker debut talking about the (future) role of autonomous vehicles in the PCV sector.  Known for his inspirational leadership and strong customer-focused approach, he’s been an integral part of the British transport giant for over 20 years (he was appointed CEO in 2013 and, prior to that, was finance director from 2000).  Under his leadership, the multi-modal operator continues to spearhead ground-breaking new technologies to ‘progress and improve’ operations for their 2.5m passengers every day. 

In his exclusive Keynote at 11am, he’ll be sharing insights from Stagecoach’s first UK trials of a full-size autonomous Enviro200 (the fruits of a partnership between Alexander Dennis and Fusion Processing).  Plus, looking ahead to next year’s more significant government-funded trial of five similar buses, which will carry Stagecoach passengers across Scotland’s Forth Bridge. 

Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths said: “This is an extremely exciting time for mass transit and new technology is bringing huge opportunities for the public transport sector.

“Stagecoach was the original transport disruptor, developing new ideas, testing new products and breaking new ground.  Our projects to trial autonomous technology in both a depot environment and in passenger service are just one part of our wider investment in new technology to benefit customers.  At the same time, we are investing in training and development, and new apprenticeships, as people will continue to be the beating heart of our business.

“I’m very clear that through partnership, policy development, innovation, leveraging new technology and investing in our people, we can deliver on our shared responsibility to improve mobility for everyone.  It will help grow our economy, deliver cleaner air and make our communities better connected.”

Show visitors will be able to see this new technology in action for themselves, with an exclusive series of trade-only demos (in a full-size autonomous bus running in Level 4 autonomy) taking place across both days of Coach & Bus UK (a safety driver will be on board in line with UK regulations). 

TfL & London’s ULEZ

Gareth Powell from Transport for London is another major new speaker at Coach & Bus UK this autumn.  Having previously held key roles at TfL, he became managing director of surface transport in December 2017.  He’s responsible for the capital’s bus services, as well as the road network, the DLR, and much more – including implementing the new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) four months ago.

With dozens of UK towns and cities looking to establish Clean Air Zones within the next year or so, Mr Powell’s Keynote will prove a popular draw for operators and local authorities looking to find out more about the impact and successes (on air quality, congestion and journey times etc) of ULEZ.

According to the London Mayor’s office, by October 2020, all 9,200 buses across London (that’s TfL’s entire fleet) will meet or exceed the ULEZ emission standards[3]

What does it really take to make all of London’s iconic red buses ‘go green’? Head to The Theatre at 1.15pm on Wednesday 2 October to grab a front row seat to find out. 

Go-Ahead & its electric fleet

The exciting seminar line-up also includes Chris McKeown, chief engineer at Go-Ahead London.  He and his team look after the biggest fleet of electric buses in the UK (their 100% electric bus garage in Waterloo is Europe’s largest and was also the world’s first outside of China). 

Thanks to rapid electric vehicle roll-out over the last few years, conversations have shifted from talk of trials/integration and the impact on local infrastructure to discussions on increasing volume, meeting zero-emission targets, and operating more all-electric routes.  According to Mr McKeown: if the ‘correct infrastructure’ is already in place then ‘the day-to-day operation of an electric fleet is nothing to be daunted by’.  Running 80+ electric buses across London has simply become ‘business as usual’ for them.  He’ll be talking about that and more in his seminar starting at 12 noon, on opening day (Wednesday 2 October). 

More speaker highlights

Graham Vidler, the Confederation of Passenger Transport’s UK chief executive, will be hosting the opening address – highlighting their industry vision and supporting strategy for the future of buses and coaches.

Nick Denton – Traffic Commissioner for the West Midlands, and Laura Hadzik from Backhouse Jones, will be hosting an exclusive mock public inquiry.

Steven Salmon, international manager at the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, will be discussing the impact of Brexit on UK and EU coach operations.

Plus, long-time show supporter and transport specialist Steve Whiteway, the former MD of Epsom Coaches, will be sharing his practical advice for profitable success. 

Attending Coach & Bus UK is, he says, “essential – it is the only opportunity to see all the important suppliers in one place”.

Speaker Q&As with Mr McKeown and Mr Whiteway are available at

Expect more speaker reveals in the coming weeks.

Free registration

Coach & Bus UK, taking place on 2-3 October at NEC Birmingham, is the leading domestic showcase for coach and bus operators.  For further information and to register to attend, please visit

The show is co-located alongside the UK’s largest coach, bus, and minibus operator awards – the routeone Awards, being held on the evening of 2 October at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.