Denise Harrison is her early bus driving days

First Bus stalwart awarded MBE in King's Birthday Honours for services to Bus Industry

  • Denise Harrison awarded MBE in King's Birthday Honours
  • Head of Health and Safety recognised for service to bus after four decades in the industry. 

First Bus is proud to announce that Denise Harrison has been awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the King’s Birthday Honours for her career-long dedication to the bus industry. 

MBEs are awarded to those who have shown outstanding achievement or service to the community that has had a long-term, significant impact and stands out as an example to others.  

Denise is currently Head of Health and Safety at First Bus and has recently surpassed 40 years' service. She began her career as a catering assistant at Ashton-under-Lyne Bus Station in Greater Manchester before becoming one of just six female bus drivers in a depot of over 400 and a real trailblazer for other women to follow in the industry. Denise quickly caught the eye and soon progressed into management roles before specialising in health and safety.  

Denise Harrison MBE

Throughout her career, Denise has led several groundbreaking safety initiatives including the PAWS training campaign for drivers, which helped significantly reduce the issue of customers falling as the bus pulled away. More recently, she’s began mentoring an apprentice to give back to the younger generation, a role she finds very fulfilling. 

Denise is also Vice Chair of the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), an organisation that strives to keep on improving health and safety standards throughout the bus industry.  

Denise Harrison MBE, Head of Health and Safety, First Bus said: “It’s absolutely crazy. I was in shock, I just turned to my husband and said ‘I think I’ve been nominated for an MBE. I think we’re going to Buckingham Palace!’ It’s an honour to be recognised for spending my entire career working and caring about the bus industry. I’m proud of myself. 

“For me, buses are about connecting communities. If I can inspire more people to love and use the bus, then that’s my aim. I’ve spent four decades in the bus industry and can see the value that bus services bring to local communities and the economy.  

“First Bus has been kind to me over the years. They’ve allowed me the time to gain qualifications and have trusted me to be my authentic self to achieve my goals. I’ve had an absolutely amazing career – no regrets whatsoever!” 


Notes to editors

About First Bus  

At First Bus, we are on a mission to grow bus usage. We will get behind initiatives that move people out of cars and onto bus. ​  

We are one of the UK’s largest bus operators, delivering over a million passenger journeys every week for the communities we serve.   

Transforming our business for the better, we are putting our people and customers at the heart of all we do.   

We are all about making journeys easier for our customers, which is why we were the first national bus operator to rollout Tap On, Tap Off payment technology across our entire UK fleet of 4500 buses. Our First Bus app has also been voted ‘best in class’ amongst UK bus operators.   

First Bus is committed to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. By March 2024, 15% of our will fleet will comprise Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs).   

We are passionate about giving back to the communities we serve, which is why we are helping local businesses to progress their own decarbonisation journeys with access to our charging hubs while our buses are on the road.  

We also operate the Aircoach network in Ireland, Specialist Passenger Solutions, First Travel Solutions, York Pullman Bus Company and Ensignbus.   

First Bus is a division of FirstGroup.     

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