After 41 years in the bus industry, Martin Harris is to retire as managing director of Brighton & Hove and Metrobus. He speaks to JAMES DAY about the highlights of his long and successful career
If there is ever to be an argument about whether bringing in management from outside of the bus industry can have a positive impact, Martin Harris’ career is a case study in support of it. The list of his achievements is long and rich, and he has been heavily involved in the development of two of the country’s most successful and respected bus operations – Go North East and Brighton & Hove.
Though not a natural bus enthusiast, Harris was interested in transport and studied it at what is now John Moores University (Liverpool Polytechnic at the time). He had the opportunity to join The National Bus Company’s graduate training scheme in 1980, where he wound up working under General Manager of Southdown Motor Services, Michael Sedgley.
“I was stepping into a world I wasn’t too familiar with,” Harris began. “I got off the train from Liverpool, and on the newsstand was a book about the Southdown bus fleet. I grabbed that and tried to cram as much as I could in the half hour before the interview.