New General Manager aims to drive The Harrogate Bus Company forward with a passion for promoting people and skills

24 January 2019

A new arrival is taking the wheel at Harrogate’s leading bus operator, The Harrogate Bus Company.

Football mad, and long-time Liverpool FC supporter, Alan French joins the Starbeck-based business as General Manager with over 13 years of bus industry experience, having worked his way up from becoming a bus driver on Merseyside to taking charge of operations at Chester’s biggest bus operator.

And Alan says he’s now keen to work with his new team in Harrogate to make the business a beacon of bus industry excellence and the best performer in parent company Transdev’s group of businesses across the North.

In 2018, The Harrogate Bus Company introduced eight new high tech, all-electric buses to the town in a joint investment worth almost £4 million, as the only bus firm in Yorkshire to win funding of £2.25 million from the Government’s Low Emission Bus Scheme.

The company also provides the award-winning 36: Riding Redefined luxury bus service linking Harrogate with Ripon and Leeds, which has seen its frequency between Harrogate and Leeds boosted up to every 10 minutes on weekdays in response to booming customer demand.

Alan says: “Thanks to substantial investment, we now have an excellent product. I want to build on the pride of our people to make sure our company is as positive on the inside for our staff as it is on the outside for our customers.

“I’ll be working from day one with our drivers and managers to make sure we are on top of our game at all times – my aim is to reduce accidents and complaints, while making sure our performance and customer service is the best in the North.

“Everywhere I’ve worked previously, the partnership between the company and its colleagues has been excellent, and I’m keen to build a similarly positive relationship here. I believe strongly in growing the skills and expertise of our people, to prepare them for their role in our exciting future. This is an environment where positive people flourish, and together we can make sure our company is always a great place to work, while delivering the highest quality of service to our customers, every time.”

The Harrogate Bus Company’s CEO Alex Hornby said: “Alan has an impressive track record of success, having held a wide variety of leadership roles, working his way through his career from a bus driver to leading manager. His passion for people marks him out as the ideal person to lead our Harrogate team to even greater success.

“Delivering a friendly and reliable service to the highest quality standards is at the heart of our business. Alan is the right person to make sure we fulfil our promise to our customers, by focusing on developing the talent and enthusiasm of our people to build a winning team.”

Alan French joins The Harrogate Bus Company from Stagecoach in the North West. He became a bus driver in Liverpool in 2005, before working his way up through roles as an NVQ Assessor, Duty Manager and Allocation Manager at the company’s base in the city.

Alan transferred to Chester as Integration Manager in January 2013, leading to promotion to the role of Assistant Operations Manager at Preston in Lancashire six months later. The following year saw him return to Chester as Operations Manager, before taking on his new role in Harrogate at the start of 2019.