The UK public transport industry is a central part of the country’s social fabric. Every year, billions of journeys – around eight billion a year, in fact, are made via public transport, whether for work, leisure or to socialise with friends and family.

If you’re in an executive-level role and you’re looking for a new challenge in a new industry, you could hardly choose a more important one than the public transport sector. The industry plays a pivotal role in keeping the country moving – by bus, coach, tram and train.

Public transport, therefore, offers a range of compelling reasons for executives who work in other industries and are looking for a change of scene to consider it. In this post, we’ll discuss several of the most important reasons why you should consider a leadership-level career in public transport.


Public service

One of the most important reasons to take up a leadership-level career in the public transport sector is that it offers you the opportunity to make a genuinely useful contribution to  society. The industry is imbued with a genuine public service ethos, more so than many other sectors.

Public transport is central to the functioning of our society and economy. Every day, people across the UK use buses, trains and other methods of public transportation to travel to work, to the shops, or to simply enjoy recreational activities.

The sector therefore facilitates economic, social and cultural exchanges of all kinds. It also enables people to access essential services and carry out vital everyday activities. For executives joining the industry, the knowledge that their work serves a genuine social purpose can be hugely satisfying.


Continual challenges

The public transport sector is going through a critical period at the moment. With the issue of environmental sustainability and curbing carbon emissions growing ever more pressing, it’s vital that as a society, we encourage more people to ditch the car and take public transport instead.

Obviously, this requires substantial investment and an increase in capacity to make public transport a viable option for more people. For any executive-level candidate seeking a new challenge, this is a major one – and one with a direct bearing on our ability to help avert the worst of climate change.

The recent decision to cancel the planned HS2 leg from Birmingham was undoubtedly a setback, but there is mounting pressure for investment in regional rail across the North and Midlands in particular. Adept, visionary leadership is therefore sorely needed to help the transport sector rise to the challenges it faces.


Personal growth and development

A career at executive level isn’t just about money or status, as important as these no doubt are for many people. To be truly fulfilling and satisfying, it also has to offer the prospect of continual personal growth and development; new goals to strive for, new achievements to celebrate.

This is something that a leadershiplevel career in public transport can offer in spades. Whether it involves leading new projects, tackling the industry’s growing skills shortage or addressing which is vital to ensuring its future – there’s no shortage of challenges to get your teeth into.

Because the public transport sector is so important to the UK’s economy and society more broadly, taking on a career in the industry provides the chance to put your skill set to the test, while making a tangible contribution to the good and improving the everyday lives of passengers.


Stability and resilience

For all the challenges currently facing the UK’s public transport sector, it is important to note that it offers a kind of long-term stability that isn’t found in many other industries. This is because, quite simply, people will always need public transport – all the more so, in fact, in the years ahead.

Executives looking for an industry where they can make a valuable contribution over the long term should, therefore, consider a career in transport. The sector is only likely to grow in centrality and importance as passenger numbers continue to rebound from the pandemic.

Of course, the landscape in the transport sector will continue to be affected by changing political priorities and challenges with regard to funding and recruitment. Nonetheless, it remains reliably resilient and it does offer a secure long-term future.


How to make the transition

Moving to the public transport sector from another industry is a challenging but rewarding and fruitful process. There are, however, certain points which leadership-level candidates should consider when they come to make the transition.

In particular, they must be able to demonstrate a genuine interest and understanding of the problems the industry faces and offer concrete solutions to address them. The transport sector faces a unique set of challenges, and an appreciation of these is crucial.

The public transport sector is also subject to a distinctive regulatory framework, substantially different to that of other industries and professions. Executive-level candidates must immerse themselves in these regulations to ensure that their strategies and solutions comply with them.

Another vital skill is the ability to negotiate with diverse stakeholders. A leadership-level career in transport will involve dialogue with various groups, including passengers’ representatives, trade unions and government bodies. An ability to foster open communication is therefore essential, as is being a skilled diplomat.


For more than a decade, Intuitive has been connecting talented leadership-level candidates with forward-thinking employers in the UK public transport sector – including bus, coach and rail. Contact us today at to discuss what we can do to help you get your career firmly on the right track.

WE would love to get to know you!

Please do give us a call, drop us a message or follow us on Twitter & Linkedin!

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