myTrip operator spotlight
We should have joined myTrip sooner!
We interview James Vallance, General Manager at Safeguard, a family-run bus company that was started by Arthur Newman in 1924 and is still owned by the Newman family today. James, a former planner and urban designer in the housing sector, talks about 15 years in the bus sector and why Safeguard has successfully adopted mobile ticketing to attract a younger customer base.
As it approaches its 100-year centenary celebrations, General Manager James Vallance shares how Safeguard’s adaptability has been key to its success and how joining myTrip has helped it meet challenges facing the bus industry over the last 12 months. James spoke to Kerrie Grant, Customer Success Manager at Passenger in March 2023.
Tell us about Safeguard
Safeguard is a local bus operator based in Jacobs Well, just outside Guildford in Surrey. The family-run business was started by Arthur Newman in 1924 and is still owned by the Newman family today.
The family journey began almost 100 years ago when Arthur converted an accident-damaged lorry to carry passengers. By 1927 they were running bus services to a newly constructed Aldershot Road housing estate, adding another service to Onslow Village shortly afterwards.
General Manager James Vallance, Kerrie’s spotlight interviewee, has worked in the bus and coach industry for the past 15 years, so is well-versed in the challenges the industry faces. “In an ever-changing world, especially the bus sector, you must adapt and grow to keep on being successful”, he comments.
He shares that Safeguard is immensely proud of its service to the Guildford area and its heritage since the 1920’s. Looking back at everything the business has achieved over that time is an incredible story. But he knows that they must look ahead too. The early part of James’ career, working as a planner and urban designer in the housing sector, has clearly given him the skills to set long-term wheels in motion. “Being able to make changes to account for future requirements is a key factor that is needed. This is something that Safeguard, with all its experience, is able to do really well.”
Why join myTrip?
James explains why Safeguard was keen to embrace a future with digital technology, “We saw the digital ticket market as an area of potential growth for ticket sales. Being a digital platform it would hopefully attract new customers to use our bus services, including younger passengers that are used to the digital age”.
Thankfully, the decision to join myTrip has more than paid off for Safeguard. Asked about the impact of myTrip, James is quick to reply, “Very positive. myTrip has had a massive impact. Digital sales have steadily grown to nearly triple the amount over the last 12 months. We should have joined sooner.”
Kerrie used to work for Unilink in Eastleigh, so knows the day-to-day challenges of running a bus operation well. Getting new ideas set up and off the ground can be a daunting prospect on top of everything else that’s going on, so she’s keen to know how James found getting started with myTrip. “The myTrip team were fantastic during the onboarding process”, James responds. “Having a dedicated point of contact to guide us through initial questions and queries, getting set up and then going live. It made the whole event stress-free.”
“myTrip has had a massive impact. We should have joined sooner.”
Another thing that James is grateful for is the operator marketing collateral that he has access to as a myTrip operator. “We use the operator marketing pack as part of the overall marketing scheme for bus travel on our services. It’s really useful to promote myTrip and the digital ticket sales availability on our bus services. The ticket listing integration with bustimes.org provides a wider platform for passengers to see the services that we provide too.”
Pushed to pick his favourite part of myTrip, James is keen to underline its simplicity and reliability. “Its ease of use. Once it’s set up, it is easy to manage and make changes. It is also a very reliable service. It continues to be a great platform for us, in this ever more digital world.”
James spoke to Kerrie Grant, Customer Success Manager at Passenger on a call in March 2023.