New managing director at Stagecoach pledges to ‘put people first’

MD Joel Mitchell

Connecting the community and putting people at the heart of the business’ is the mission of Joel Mitchell, newly appointed Managing Director at Stagecoach South East.

With 20 years’ experience in the transport sector, Joel joins ‪Stagecoach from c2c Rail where he oversaw operations as the Delivery Director. Running between Essex and London, c2c boasts the best on-time punctuality rates in the country and was named Rail Operator of the Year at the National Transport Awards in 2018.

Joel said: “This is a people business. If we put our employees at the heart of what we do, they in turn will look after our customers and the business and that’s really what it’s all about. We are here to get people from A to B, on time in an affordable way. Obviously there are challenges but we want to deliver on that mission; we intend to communicate and consult with our passengers, and get our core service absolutely right.

“Stagecoach South East is already a very successful company with a strong leadership team and I’m looking forward to building on that success. We want to continue to grow and help our customers and communities to connect with each other as much as we possibly can.”

Although Joel will be based at Stagecoach South East’s headquarters in Canterbury, he visited all the local depots in Ashford, Dover, Folkestone, Herne Bay, Thanet, Hastings and Eastbourne in his first week and will make regular visits in the future.

Last year Stagecoach celebrated 25 years since taking over the East Kent Road Car Company in 1993. Since then it has almost doubled its fleet to 459 buses, with its new vehicles offering the latest cleaner engine technology to provide greener travel. The company employs almost 1,300 people and carries more than 43 million passengers a year.

Mike Watson, Regional Director at Stagecoach UK Bus, said: “As Joel has so much experience in the transport sector, he has been able to hit the ground running. We are delighted he chose to bring his wealth of expertise to ‪Stagecoach South East and are looking forward to seeing how he can bring further success to the company, making improvements that will really benefit our customers.”

Joel began his career with South West Trains in 1999 before becoming the Head of Performance at Southern Railway in 2010. He went on to spend three years as the Head of Performance at South Western Railway before becoming the Director of Operations & Customer Experience at First Hull Trains in 2015. From there he joined c2c Rail in 2017, before moving to Stagecoach South East.

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    • It’s not that long since we had four buses an hour along Beacon Raod. This was cut to three an hour. Next was two an hour. After the recent round of cuts we have one an hour as Richard says that doesn’t even go to the railway station, the librar6 or the Broadway Surgery unless you are able to walk from Carlton Avenue. We have no direct link to Westwood Cross or anywhere beyond Margate.

      I used to,use the bus to get to Sturry when I worked at the school there. That would be very difficult to do these days.

      In addition to the gap in the afternoon on the 37 route that replaced the 56,the 33 starts late in the morning and has a lengthy gap in the afternoon. As I was told by a senior Stagecoach manager not that long ago, ‘We aren’t a public service. We are a commercial company’. Obviously.

  1. Glad to hear we have a people person at the top at Stagecoach – would he like to start by restoring the services cut when KCC withdrew their subsidy to services like the 56 bus, which serves a part of Broadstairs where there are no other buses, and where I am standing for the council on 2 May. The replacement bus, the 37 starts too late, finishes too early and there is a
    three-hour gap in the afternoon!! Totally unacceptable, not reliable and not frequent enough. Little and often buses could be used to good effect here, but no-one listened at the recent consultations. How about it, Joel Mitchell, I’m sure Stagecoach makes enough profit to do this, and it will stop us going back to the real age of the stagecoach?

  2. Perhaps he’d like to explain why the 45 didn’t run at 09:28 This morning from Ramsgate to Sandwich, leaving people stranded?

  3. Perhaps he can explain why buses that should connect no longer do so since they are timetabled to depart at the same time, one pulls in as the other departs. Perhaps also why when the cuts were introduced the service has become so disjointed people no longer even bother going for a bus preferring to stay home or use their car when the whole point of public transport is to reduce congestion, cut emissions, reduce isolation and connect communities.

    • I think you’re spot on. Even if the buses are bit run as a Public Service (and clearly they are not) they will get more customers if they meet customers’ needs
      There used (in the good old days – ie last month) to be a 43 that ran from Canterbury to Sandwich, whereupon it became an 80. 1 minute later, a different bus, also a 43, was scheduled to run from Sandwich to Ramsgate. So, if you were on the Canterbury – Sandwich bus, and it was running more than a minute late, you would miss the connection, and have to wait an hour for the next bus.

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