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Author Topic: James Freeman - MD of First West of England - to retire from business, 5.2021  (Read 687 times)
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« on: September 09, 2020, 10:41:40 am »

From Coach and Bus Week

James Freeman, who rose from bus conductor to becoming the Managing Director of First West of England, the area’s main bus operator, has announced that he is retiring from the business next May.

Freeman, who lives in Bath, has overseen a major transformation of the bus company in the region since he arrived six years ago, including the introduction of one of the largest fleets of biomethane buses across the country and the roll out of the £230m rapid transit metrobus development in Bristol. Prior to the impact of the coronavirus on the bus industry, the business had seen growth in passenger numbers of between 6-10% per year during his tenure.

Today, First West of England employs some 1,800 staff and has a fleet of 600 vehicles covering Bristol, Bath, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and parts of Somerset and Wiltshire.

Freeman previously held leadership positions with Reading Buses and Stagecoach, where he was Chief Executive Officer and a Managing Director respectively. He had previously worked as Managing Director of Badgerline Transit Developments in 1987 which was eventually subsumed into First Group which is the parent company for First Bus. He was just 28 when he was appointed to his first Managing Director role at Shamrock & Rambler Coaches in Bournemouth.

Says Freeman: “I am a very lucky person in that I have been able to spend my career in a sector about which I am extremely passionate.  From an early age I was fascinated by buses and felt then that I could help to make them run. My first contact with the company was when I boarded a brand new bus on display outside Marlborough Street Bus Station in Bristol in 1968. The man I talked to on that day helped make up my mind day that I would make my career on the buses.

James is a true professional, an enthusiastic supporter of public transport, and a person has time fore, and understands, his staff, passengers and partners.  Fond, fond memories of working with him in the days that First Bus served Melksham. His shoes at First Bus will be big ones for anyone to fill.

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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2020, 05:44:25 pm »

It's a shame he cannot sort out the position across Portishead and probably the rest of North Somerset, where all the digital displays say 'Please refer to timetables' and the timetable cases are still displaying the covid 19 emergency notices that have been there since April. A check on next bus shows that the updates from Sunday 6th have not been included. If he was wondering why passenger numbers are still well down, it might be because we can't get the information about what buses are running !
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2020, 06:09:30 pm »

The digital displays in Swindon haven’t worked for the last couple of years. 
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