Coach & Bus UK will feature a live pitching Innovation Challenge event

Coach & Bus UK is bringing a raft of world-class innovations, vehicles and tech to the NEC Birmingham next week. Doors open on Wednesday 2 October, with thousands of attendees expected.

The line-up includes two action-packed days of business and networking, 192 exhibitors, over 80 vehicles on display, innovative product launches and demos, plus 14 expert speakers – including CEOs and MDs from CPT UK, Stagecoach Group, Brighton & Hove Buses, Women in Transport, and Surface Transport at TfL – sharing exclusive insights at their industry show.

Event director Helen Conway says: “Coach & Bus UK has proved itself time after time to be an essential visit to see what’s new and compare the latest innovative products from leading and emerging brands. The industry moves too quickly to miss it, which is why thousands of national and regional coach, bus and mini-vehicle operators, local authorities, transport specifiers, partnership coordinators, and stakeholders will be packing the aisles next week.”

Graham Vidler, chief executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, will be kicking off The Theatre programme with a much-anticipated opening address. He says there is something for everyone to enjoy this year: “Visitors will see first-hand all the very best and latest developments in the bus and coach sector presented by over 180 industry suppliers… showcasing everything from new vehicles, alternative power and retrofitting solutions, to ticketing, payments and digital services.”

Graham is also looking forward to taking on the role of head judge at the show’s new Innovation Challenge, which has been launched to recognise and reward the industry’s best new developments of the last 12 months; including passenger transport tech, vehicle accessories, workshop equipment, and more.

Innovation Challenge

There are 19 new products taking part and it is up to show visitors to vote for their favourites on opening day at the Innovation Challenge Gallery. Their top picks will then go forward to the Innovation Challenge Live Finals, starting at noon the following day (Thursday 3 October in The Theatre). This exciting live pitching session will see exhibitors take turns to wow the judges. They have just 90 seconds to impress them and, potentially, win a gold, silver or bronze award.

The Innovation Challenge judges – who’ll be putting the finalists to the test – include Phil Hitchen, MD of Belle Vue Coaches; Chloe Leach-O’Connell, MD of Leach-O’Connell Consultancy (who has previously held senior marketing roles at Transdev and Arriva); Jon Eardley, engineering director UK Bus at Abellio; Tom Morgan, service delivery director at trentbarton; and (head judge) Graham Vidler, CEO of the CPT UK.

The Innovation Challenge results will be announced at 2.30pm on Thursday 3 October.

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