#2 — John Bickerton Accelerates to a Land Speed Record for a Public Service Bus


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Reading Bus is a local bus company that serves Reading, UK, a town outside of London, holds a land speed record for fastest public service bus. What does that mean? Well it means they took a bus that was in service on Sunday, put a few minor tweaks on it on Monday (tires + engine software), set the record on Tuesday at 76.785 MPH, and put the bus back into service on Wednesdays. Their record was covered by news outlets around the world, including the BBCArs Technica, and Boing Boing.

John Bickerton is the chief engineer of Reading Bus and led the effort to set this record along with Malcolm Black, a mechanic at Reading Bus who technically holds the world record as the driver of the bus. Not only did their bus set the world record, they did while running the bus on biomethane, aka cow poo, a renewable energy source that’s carbon neutral fuel source and also makes the bus really quiet. Reading Bus proved they could punch above their weight, lead their industry and lead the world, by pushing their own team, their partners, and their ambitions.

Things we cover in this podcast:

  • Why the #1 success factor for their team was not innovation or boldness but safety
  • The cash bet John won against one of his biggest doubters
  • How Reading Bus’s technology and supplier partners were a key part of their success
  • Why John’s believes female engineers sometimes outperform male engineers in taking on analytical challenges
  • What their plans are for future projects

Note: This episode was recorded in August 2015.