Vintage buses will be in service in Cheltenham on May 31st to mark the retirement of Stagecoach West's Managing Director Ian Manning.
Steven Knight Media understand that over 20 vintage buses are likely to be in service on local routes and also longer distance services to Gloucester. Stagecoach East and Stagecoach Midlands have confirmed that they intend to take their Bristol FLFs to Cheltenham for the day.
Following a brief spell in the steel industry, Ian Manning joined the bus industry in 1976 in the planning department at Lothian Region Transport in Edinburgh. Three years later he joined Scottish Bus Group subsidiary W. Alexander & Sons (Northern) as Assistant Planner and was appointed as SBG Group Commercial Officer in 1981.
He later moved to another Scottish Bus Group subsidiary, Clydeside Scottish before landing the role of Operations Manager at Southdown Motor Services in Chichester in 1989. Shortly afterwards the company was sold to Stagecoach and Ian Manning was made redundant, quickly moving on to become Deputy County Passenger Transport Officer at Buckinghamshire County Council.
With a known interest in the Portuguese bus industry, about which he has now written four books, in 1996 Ian Manning was invited back to become the Managing Director of Stagecoach Portugal and ran the company for almost five years. He then moved to Arriva’s Portuguese operations in 2001 but returned to Stagecoach in 2004 as Managing Director of Stagecoach West. When he retires on 31 May 2014, it will be 11 years to the day since he took on that role and, during that time, the company has increased in fleet size by 15%.
Ian Manning said: “My career has taken lots of twists and turns and I have actually had three incarnations at Stagecoach. The bus industry is something that has always interested me and it has been a privilege to have been able to contribute to the industry and to do a job I genuinely love.
“Bus operators have a hard job to do but over the years we have become better at delivering the kind of service our customers rightly expect. The industry can still improve further of course and, provided it has support from local and central Government, I believe bus travel will continue to go from strength to strength in the years to come.
Steven Knight is a Transport Specialist who has over 40 years experience in the bus and rail industries as well as in specialist transport journalism. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.