Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Quirky Qualifications Queried

What does it take to be a big cheese in the Public Transport sector?
A slight touch of insanity?
Thoughts provoked by Sidmouth research.

 From Student to Bus Manager 
Robert Williams, formerly commercial manager at Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, moved in Summer 2012 to Stagecoach South West as commercial director. Williams joined Stagecoach in 2003 as a placement student at Stagecoach South Midlands.

 From Store Detective to Bus Manager 

Stagecoach South West this week announced the purchase of the vehicles for the 52 route; which runs between Exeter, Sidmouth, Seaton and Honiton and is popular with both residents and visitors. The firm says the move represents a total investment of £1.5million and demonstrates its continued commitment to Devon’s public transport services. The new buses all meet latest Euro 5 low emissions standards. 

‘Delighted’ Michelle Hargreaves (in pink, right), managing director of Stagecoach South West, said: “We have been able to demonstrate that, despite the challenging economic climate, we are still spending on new buses to provide an even better service to our customers.”

Michelle has made a splendid video about her work in Exeter which is well worth watching (view here).

 Raving Loony runs Council Bus Department 
Some bus company managers will be cheering enthusiastically! "At last," they cry, "the truth is told!" But read on, and wonder ... The "Blue" quotes are from the local Sidmouth paper; the "grey" quotes are from a variety of web sites.

Councillor Stuart Hughes (centre, above), Devon County Council cabinet member for highways and transportation and chairman of Sidmouth Town Council, added: “The Service 52 has been a real success story with increasing patronage on an important link across East Devon.

“This new investment from Stagecoach is very welcome and shows confidence in this thriving route. These are state of the art buses which should attract more passengers to explore and see what Sidmouth and other towns along the route have to offer.”
Stuart Hughes became a disc jockey in 1969.
In the 1980s, he was a hotelier and the owner of a music club called Carinas in Fore Street, Sidmouth, and also an active member of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.
Hughes with Lord Sutch in Seaton in 1988

At the European Parliament election, 1989, Hughes stood for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party in the Devon constituency of the European Parliament, gaining 2,241 votes, almost 1% of the votes cast.

In 1989, he and others formed the breakaway Raving Loony Green Giant Party, mainly due to personality clashes with their party leader, Howling Laud Hope.
Stuart stood for parliament at the Mid Staffordshire by-election of 22 March 1990 and the Ribble Valley by-election of 7 March 1991, using the party labels "Raving Loony Green Giant Supercalafragalistic Party" and "Raving Loony Green Giant Clitheroe Kid" respectively. In Mid Staffordshire, he gained 59 votes, but improved on this in Ribble Valley to score 60.
In May 1991, Hughes was elected under the Raving Loony Green Giant Party banner to East Devon District Council and Sidmouth Town Council in the Sidmouth Woolbrook ward, after changing his name to 'Stuart Basil Fawlty Hughes', becoming the first "Raving Loony" candidate to win any contested election. He formed an alliance of Independents and a sole Green Party councillor which was known as "The Coastals", because of the seaside seats they held. In 1993, Hughes was elected as a Raving Loony to Devon County Council, representing the Sidmouth Rural county division.

Hughes joined the Conservatives in March 1997. This was just in time to stand as a Conservative candidate at the 1997 local elections, when he was re-elected to Devon County Council. He repeated the feat at the 2001, 2005, and 2009 elections.

and great for the kiddies, too

Some forty years on from his debut as a disc jockey, he is still operating the 'Stuart Hughes Disco Show', using a Remote Control Frequencies sound system, a light show with LED technology and laser.

For a sample of the maestro's work try this (view here) or enjoy this likeness of "Huggy" Hughes after a particularly stressful council meeting:-
Let's have a picture pf some buses before we pose the key question ...

vehicles (recent fleet) in their Sidmouth "depot",
namely Potbury's auction house yard on Temple Street.

... which are the best qualifications for senior roles in the bus industy? Hard to tell! Having spoken to all three over coffee, they all seemed splendid chaps/chapesses, but of the three Robert Williams seemed perhaps the least at ease in the public gaze - but it was, apparently, his day so a little anxiety is understandable. 

Here are three of the new buses setting off yesterday (read again).

 Next Bus Blog : Thursday 10th January 

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