Obituary: Julian Osborne

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Bus Users UK has announced the death of Julian Osborne, one of its longest-serving members of staff.

Stephen Morris, former Deputy Chief Executive of Bus Users, paid tribute to the contribution Julian made to the organisation, and to the coach and bus industry:

“Julian Osborne spent his working life in human resources in the airline industry in the UK and Brunei. He developed a passion for good customer service there, and was very keen for the bus and coach industry to improve its customer service too.

“Born in Worthing in 1952, he worked as a bus conductor for Brighton, Hove & District during university vacations when he was a geography student at Oxford University. He started a column in Buses magazine examining issues around customer service, highlighting both good and poor practice from first-hand experience as an extensive traveller by coach and bus.

“After retiring he brought his human relations expertise to Bus Users UK as the staff of the organisation was growing and he was passionate about improving the organisation’s professionalism.

“When I became General Manager Julian was very much my right-hand man; we both shared a passion for professionalism but he had the expertise to implement it. He introduced new HR procedures and valuable management systems to the organisation, some of which remain vital to our work today.

“With his passion for good service he became involved in the complaints processes, and his particular expertise in the area of express coaches was especially valuable to us in our work with National Express and other coach companies. He also helped to develop our expertise in mystery travelling and negotiated a valuable contract for us to provide regular mystery travelling work for National Express West Midlands over a number of years, resulting in some notable improvements in that operator’s customer service. His knowledge of UK geography was legendary, and woe betide any of us should we get a place name wrong or attribute it to the wrong county.

“Latterly, Julian also provided all the administrative support for the Bus Appeals Body and continued to help with our complaints handling work in England, which he undertook with considerable rigour. He also took an interest in the history of the bus industry, and wrote a definitive history of the ‘Queen Mary’-class buses operated by his childhood local operator Southdown in the 1960s and 1970s.”