Well, it only seems like yesterday since I was popping myself on the train from New Street to get to the NEC and attend the last Bus and coach show. I had gone specifically to attend a presentation that was being held at the presentation stage. This initiative is a comparably new event and has been a really good crowd puller over the years. Mostly in fairness to the quality and topicality of the subject matter.
The last one I attended had my old friend and all round good chap Bill Hiron, not only the MD of Stephensons of Essex ( an award winning quality coach operator based in Essex) but back then Bill was the then very capable chairman of the Confederation of Passenger Transport or CPT to it’s friends. The line up of speakers was a bit of a who’s who of the bus and coach industry.It is usually kicked off by the Secretary of State for Transport. Although I have to say that if the present Minister Mr Chris Failing as he is known in Private Eye were the main draw sadly I would expect that numbers would not be high, given his recent track record with Ferry Companies with no ferry’s, take away menu’s for terms and conditions, and new failed rail timetables. The chap has not sadly covered himself in glory, but in fairness the Buses Minister has shown herself to be in tune with the Industry and I suspect would be a most welcome addition and well supported by the Industry.
One of the real joys of attending the show is the joy of bumping into old friends who you may not have seen for some years. Last year was no exception and it was a true delight to turn a corner and find my dear old chum Trevor Higginbottom, a veteran of Pete’s Travel and alongside myself Diamond Bus Company. Trevor is one of those golden gems of a man who has given his life to the Industry, and is now seeing out his final years working for Transport for the West Midlands. Such experiences are all part of the joy of attending.
It is also of course the show ground for the latest vehicles, technology, and anything and everything that supplies and supports the industry. The people who organise the show do a magnificent job year in, year out attracting the best from around the world to show just what is going on. The ever increasing number of international exhibitors and visitors is testimony to its importance to the Industry. It is also still free to attend, which is really a no brainier as to would not you attend. So, I look forward to seeing at this years excellent show, and I genuinely look forward to three full days of seeing the best of the best, see you there.