Alex Hornby becomes Blazefield’s CEO

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Announcing the promotion of Managing Director Alex Hornby to become the company’s new Chief Executive from August 3, Transdev Blazefield has unveiled a package of investment in service enhancements, new buses and fleet upgrades.

Alex, who joined the company in February from Trent Barton, where he was Commercial Director, is replacing Martin Gilbert who has held the position for the past seven years. Martin will move to a role of Non-Executive Chairman, where he will continue to provide support to Blazefield and the wider Transdev UK business.

“My colleagues here have done exceptionally well to stabilise the business after a challenging few years,’’ enthused Alex.

“We are now in a good place to grow and develop by doing great things for both our staff and, not least, our customers – who remain at the very heart of everything we do.”

Transdev Blazefield, which operates 400 buses and employs over 1,000 people across Lancashire and Yorkshire said it will spend £4.6m on new buses this year, as well as further investment on a programme of fleet refurbishment. It is part of a structured development plan for the business, which will see ever greater emphasis on innovation, growth, staff engagement and the quality of service to customers, the firm said.

Nigel Stevens, Transdev CEO UK & Ireland said: “I am very pleased with the progress that has been made at Transdev Blazefield in 2015. Alex Hornby is the right leader to take Blazefield to the next level, building on the strong foundations put in place by Martin Gilbert and the entire Blazefield team over the past seven years.

“The coming few years will be challenging but exciting times for the industry and these management changes ensures that Transdev is perfectly placed to meet those challenges and deliver even more innovative, customer-focused services across Lancashire and Yorkshire.’’

Some of the key initiatives completed or planned for 2015 include an investment of £3.2m in what the firm called ‘new, highly-specified buses’ for the high-profile route 36 between Leeds, Harrogate and Ripon. Asked by CBW what vehicle make and model it intends to acquire, Transdev said the details remained to be finalised.

The local network in Harrogate has also seen some expansion with monthly fare promotions to increase off-peak ridership in the town. There have also been changes to the network in Blackburn too, including more evening and weekend services, as well as more direct journeys between key locations in the town.

Nine new Wrightbus StreetLites have been delivered for the Burnley Connect local network, an investment of £1.2m. A new late night weekend service on the Witch Way X43 between Manchester and Burnley began on August 1.

In Keighley, Wrightbus Eclipse-bodied Volvo B7RLEs on the trunk Shuttle 662 are being extensively refurbished (including free 4G WiFi and USB chargers) to coincide with the opening of the major Westfield development in Bradford. Also, the frequency on the 66 route to Skipton is being increased – and the launch and subsequent extension of the new Bronte Bus brand to increase demand for leisure travel in the tourist honeypot area around Haworth and Hebden Bridge.

Transdev told CBW that other initiatives continue to bear fruit. A prime example, it said, has been the growth in the use of the company’s M-ticket products, which has doubled in the past year, with 5,500 registered users buying tickets each week.