Testing the Walters

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According to Claire, “You can’t just pick up a London service model, apply it to Manchester and hope it will work. It’s not going to happen and there isn’t enough money.” A Go-Ahead London MCV eVoSeti-bodied Volvo B5LH is seen at Elephant and Castle working route 63 to King’s Cross on November 29, 2016. MIKE SHEATHER

Claire Walters has been working as the Chief Executive at Bus Users UK since 2012, and shared some of her opinions and ambitions for the future, with Elizabeth Howlett

I met Claire at the CPT UK offices at Chancery House, London. We sat down and talked about her four years at Bus Users, as well as her thoughts on the impending Bus Services Bill. Having previously worked as a chief executive at a credit union, Claire was new to the passenger transport sector. However, since joining the organisation in 2012 she has put all her efforts into improving bus services.

Bus Users’ mission statement is to champion the interests of bus and coach users and campaign for better services. The non-profit organisation works to ensure that the views of users are considered when decisions are made which will affect them. It aims to give passengers a voice and helps to have it heard by the relevant people, be that Government or operators.

It runs events around the UK called Your Bus Matters, which gives passengers the chance to discuss their views directly with decision makers in the local area. Alongside handling complaints, Bus Users campaigns to highlight issues and aims to drive up standards/perception of bus and coach travel.

Describing herself as ‘blotting paper,’ Claire spent her initial months absorbing everything she could. Her passion for bus and coach travel was most apparent when she recalled her own experiences, both in her home country of Wales and in London. She has gone from long journeys on the school bus through Rhondda Valley as a child, to being able to hop-on and off London bus services – enabling her to understand and empathise with passengers.

Claire’s passion was most apparent when she described a trip with Brighton & Hove. She enthused: “I boarded the bus and I was beaming at the driver, who was not behind a protective screen. It made all the difference as I was actually able to talk to him, and we shared a joke. I was happy, and so was the driver.”

Role

How did you get into the industry?

In her own words, Claire would like, “The whole of the UK to be aware of the fact that we exist, the main role we carry out and that if anyone has a question about buses or coaches, that they can contact us. We want people to know about us.” BUS USERS UK

I saw the advert for Chief Executive at UK Bus Users and applied. Maybe it wasn’t quite that simple. I saw it the first time and thought to myself ‘I don’t know anything about it, why […]

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