- Stagecoach founder recognised for career of service to public transport
- Judges praise Scottish entrepreneur for innovation and sustainability
- Former bus conductor changed perception of bus and rail travel
Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Brian Souter was presented with a major European award in Paris for a career of service to public transport.
The co-founder of Stagecoach, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, was honoured for transforming the perception of public transport and attracting people from all social backgrounds to get on board buses and trains.
He celebrated by having his photograph taken at the Eiffel Tower aboard a vintage London Routemaster bus.
Judges at the inaugural Talent in Mobility awards praised Brian Souter’s commitment to innovation and his leading role in encouraging car users to switch to greener, smarter bus and rail travel.
The former bus conductor and award-winning businessman has been behind some major transport innovations over the past three decades, including the market-leading budget coach service megabus.com and the UK’s first Biobuses.
He has also been instrumental in developing new policy ideas, such as the Kickstart pump-priming concept to promote new bus routes and ideas on vertical integration to further improve the railways.
Supported by the UITP, the International Association of Public Transport, the 'Talent in Mobility' awards are judged by a panel of European transport journalists. The awards honour women and men who are contributing to the development of public transport and sustainable mobility across Europe.
Brian Souter said: “It is a great honour to receive such a prestigious European Transport award. I’m lucky enough to do a job in a sector I’m passionate about and this award is also a tribute to the many people at Stagecoach who have worked with me and contributed to our success over the past 30 years.
“I believe public transport has a great future as we see increasing signs of economic recovery and it has a major role to play in helping Europe and the rest of the world meet the challenge of climate change.”
Brian Souter (55) co-founded Stagecoach with his sister, Ann Gloag, in 1980 with just two buses and has developed the company into a leading international transport group in the UK and North America with 30,000 employees and an annual turnover of more than £2billion.
Stagecoach has been a trailblazer in public transport and was one of the first companies to take advantage of deregulation in the UK in 1980. It was one of the first major transport groups to expand overseas, having run services in five continents across the globe over the past three decades. The company won the first UK rail franchise in the mid-1990s when it took over South West Trains, the UK's biggest commuter rail network.
Brian Souter is also one of the UK’s best-known private entrepreneurs, with an eye for new business opportunities. He is a committed angel investor, providing crucial seed capital for new business start-ups. Brian Souter has a wide portfolio of personal investments, including bus and ferry companies in New Zealand and a large stake in bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis Ltd.
He is also a significant contributor to charitable causes and a committed supporter of health projects. Earlier this year, he launched the UK’s first Healthy Heart Bus, a voluntary heart health screening programme for employees in Stagecoach’s UK Bus division. Brian Souter has personally pledged £1million towards the £2m initiative.