• The Royal Beach Hotel, venue for the conference in October 2021
  • Transport Commissioner for London, Mike Brown addressing delegates at the autumn 2019 conference in London
  • Delegates split into groups for a workshop in Bristol in 2018. This one asked delegates to consider what we'd be doing in 10 years time
  • Arriva UK Bus Managing Director Kevin O'Connor was the after dinner speaker at the 2017 autumn conference in Oxford
  • Richard Hall, Managing Director, Lothian Buses addresses the 2018 spring conference in Edinburgh
  • The Royal Beach Hotel, venue for the conference in October 2021
  • Go-Ahead Group CEO David Brown was the after dinner speaker at the 2017 spring conference in Liverpool
  • En-route to First Glasgow's Caledonia Depot as part of the autumn 2016 conference
  • ScotRail Alliance Managing Director Alex Hynes was the after dinner speaker at the 2018 spring conference in Edinburgh
  • National Express Group Chief Executive Dean Finch was the after dinner speaker at the 2016 spring conference in Birmingham
  • The Royal Beach Hotel, venue for the conference in October 2021
  • Transdev Blazefield's Chief Executive Officer and YBMN member Alex Hornby at the 2017 spring conference in Liverpool
  • A visit to the Oxford Bus Company was part of the 2017 autumn conference
  • Stagecoach Group Chief Executive Martin Griffiths was the after dinner speaker at the 2015 autumn conference in Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Details of the next conference

Next conference in Portsmouth postponed to 13th and 14th October 2021  

There is still a restriction on the number of people that can gather indoors. An announcement that events such as conferences could commence from 1st October 2020 was expected by early September, but this depended on the infection rate not rising and the successful running of some test events across the summer, which were postponed.

Rather than wait for an announcement that would not give very much notice that the conference planned for the end of October 2020 cannot go ahead, it has been decided to postpone the event. The YBMN Patrons have given careful consideration to moving the conference into the spring, but it seems likely that if the event could go ahead then, there still might be restrictions that could preclude the site visit alongside a socially distanced evening meal and no delegate badges or conference pack/handouts, for example. More importantly, it was considered that bus companies will still be meeting the challenges that Covid-19 has brought and might be reluctant to release staff to attend the conference.

Therefore it has been decided to postpone the conference until the autumn next when it is more certain that the event will be able to go ahead without restrictions, and bus companies will be in a better position to release staff to go to a conference. The new dates will be Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th October 2021.

All delegates, and those that booked them, were e-mailed on Friday 4th September with the new dates. All existing bookings have been transferred to the new dates. We expect to run a full programme along with the optional site visit.

The conference will be held at the Royal Beach Hotel, directly opposite South Parade Pier in Southsea. It's an easy 15-20 minute bus ride to the hotel from either Fratton railway station or The Hard Interchange for Megabus and National Express. Buses run every 10 minutes. 

There will be an optional visit on Wednesday afternoon, departing the hotel at 1400. Delegates will visit First Bus' Hoeford depot, followed by a tour of the Fareham to Gosport Eclipse busway with a return to Portsmouth via the Gosport Ferry. 

Some bedrooms may be available for early check in, otherwise delegates can store bags in reception if bedrooms are not ready. A conference registration desk will be open from 1330-1400 and again from the return of the site visits until dinner at 1900. 


About the conference venue

The conference will be held at the Royal Beach Hotel, St. Helens Parade, Portsmouth PO4 0RN. Telephone 023 9273 1281. There is free wifi throughout the hotel. Opened over 150 years ago, the hotel stands opposite South Parade Pier and is full of character with chandeliers, grand staircases and seafaring memorabilia. The hotel has great views over the Solent, and most of its bedrooms have been refurbished recently and are of varying sizes.

Breakfast will be served from 0645 in the Ark Royal restaurant on the ground floor. Dinner, and the conference, will be held in the Invincible room on the ground floor. Dinner starts at 1900 and the conference starts at 0900 on Thursday morning. It will finish around 1515 when tea and coffee in takeaway cups will be provided. 

How to get to the Royal Beach Hotel

The hotel is easily accessible by public transport. The following information is pre-Covid-19 and is provided as a guide. Transport arrangements will be checked nearer the time to ensure that service numbers and frequencies are accurate.

By Train

Fratton Station
There are frequent rail services from London (taking 1.5-2 hours) and locations to the east and west to Fratton. The three Portsmouth stations of Fratton, Portsmouth and Southsea, and Portsmouth Harbour are very near each other. 

Exit from the front of the station and turn left. Immediately look for the wooden painted entrance to the footbridge on your left, about 30m from the station exit. Go up the steps and walk on the footbridge over the railway lines. At the end of the footbridge, go down the steps to the pavement and turn left. The bus stop is about 65m ahead. Take the First Bus service 1, which runs every 10 minutes and alight at South Parade Pier, taking about 15-20 minutes. The Royal Beach Hotel is directly opposite the pier. 

By Express Coach

There are Megabus and National Express coach services to The Hard Interchange in Portsmouth, arriving at stand A. You can take either First Bus service 3 from stand F, or Stagecoach service 23 from stand E, to South Parade Pier. Both services operate every 10 minutes and take about 20 minutes. The Royal Beach Hotel is directly opposite the pier.

By Air 

The nearest airport is Southampton, from which you can travel to Fratton by train in a little over an hour. Gatwick airport is between an hour and a half, and an hour and three quarters away by train. 

By Car

There are a small number of free parking spaces at the hotel.   

Expected dinner menu (may be revised)

In addition to any pre-booked special dietary requirements, delegates can choose from the following menu. An e-mail will be sent to all delegates about two weeks before the conference asking for meal choices, which must be confirmed a week before the event. If a selection is not made, the most popular choices will be ordered. A personal menu will be given to each delegate at check in. 

Option A: Leek and potato soup with crutons
Option B: Duck and orange pate served with red onion marmalade and ciabatta bread

Option C: Pan fried breast of chicken in a mushroom and tarragon sauce, served with seasonal vegetables and potatoes
Option D: Four hour braised blade of beef in a red wine and thyme sauce, served with seasonal vegetables and potatoes
Option E: Mediterranean vegetable and mozzarella wellington with a Provencal sauce, served with seasonal vegetable and potatoes

Option F: Strawberry meringue nest filled with Chantilly cream
Option G: Amoretti filled profiteroles with a warm chocolate sauce

Tea and coffee with mints


Updated 13/3/20

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