Norman Baker leaves Big Lemon

The Big Lemon’s MD and former Transport Minister, Norman Baker, has left the company having ‘achieved goals’

Former Transport Minister Norman Baker has left The Big Lemon, having become its Managing Director in March 2017. He says he will pursue new challenges, including focusing more time on writing transport columns.

A statement on The Big Lemon’s website said he had achieved his goals with the firm by raising the profile of the organisation locally, nationally and internationally; as well as winning a number of new contracts, thereby establishing The Big Lemon as what it described as the foremost independent bus operator in Brighton & Hove. Norman joined the operator in March 2017.

The Big Lemon’s founder and CEO, Tom Druitt, said: “I would like to thank Norman for his huge contribution to The Big Lemon this last year. He has taken the organisation to the next level and we now have the opportunity to grow our impact far beyond what was previously possible. I wish Norman all the very best of luck in his future endeavours.

“Last year was quite transformational for us. Norman was very good at selling the organisation, getting the awareness out there and getting more work in.”

Asked whether there is a replacement lined up for Norman, Tom said: “Not at the moment, we’re basically focusing on the new bus services we started last autumn. We have got a big fundraising target this year to raise £1m for investment in electric vehicles. We want to focus on making them full electric. We have government support from the Low Emission Bus Scheme, which will help buy three new electrics. We are looking to raise £0.5m for electrifying the rest using Magtec. Then we’ll look at how we want to organise ourselves after that.”

The new electric buses will be Optare Solos. According to Tom, Big Lemon is first in line for a new specification of this vehicle being launched later this year. He said: “It should be able to run all day in service.”

Norman said: “It’s been an exciting challenge to lead The Big Lemon through a period of significant growth and I believe the company has a bright future. I would like to thank the team for their dedication and support, and all those in the community including our passengers and supporters, the city council and our industry colleagues. It has been a pleasure working with you all.”

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