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18 Nov 2014
Christopher Bowles managing director of Stagecoach Manchester, is currently celebrating a landmark, 40 years working in the bus industry.
To mark the occasion, Christopher visited the company’s Sharston depot, where a bus from 1974 – the year Christopher started work – stood side by side with a modern hybrid bus, allowing Christopher to reflect on his career.
From a background working for local authority bus services, Christopher has spent all but 10 years of his career working in Manchester, where he is currently managing director of the Stagecoach operation, responsible for over 2,200 staff and 400 services across the region.
Reflecting on his 40 year career, Christopher said: “When I began my career, I was excited by the variety of experiences which the bus industry has to offer. I think this is still true today.
“Forty years ago the industry was in decline because of growing car ownership. But there was still the potential for a mass travel business, because everyone could see congestion was going to get worse.
“By the 1990s the industry was investing serious money in modern buses, which made travel more attractive. We have also been working to promote the sustainable credentials of bus travel.
“In recent years, the UK bus industry has taken great strides. As an industry, it is now much more customer-orientated, putting travellers front and centre to deliver services that work for local people. In Greater Manchester there are now 25 bus stops every square mile, making bus travel more accessible for local people.
“There have also been huge developments in technology to improve safety and the environmental credentials of the bus industry. Despite this investment, price increases are kept to a minimum and we deliver a high quality service that is great value for money. Customer satisfaction for Stagecoach Manchester is at 86% - and we’re working hard to improve this even further.
“Even within the last five years, I’ve seen a huge change in how we run the business. We now operate very much as a partner in a wider transport network – a change which has improved and modernised the ability for people to move around by bus in Greater Manchester. ”
In recognition of his work within the industry this year, Christopher was identified as one of the 250 most influential people in Greater