Queensland’s TransLink Transit Authority has found a new CEO who will take up the Brisbane posting in March


By David Goeldner | December 15, 2011

The Chief Executive Office of a major UK public transit authority will soon travel ‘down under’ to take up the CEO’s job at south-east Queensland’s TransLink Transit Authority.

After 12 years with Merseytravel as CEO and Director-General, Neil Scales effectively replaces UK-compatriot and former CEO Peter Strachan, who resigned from TransLink in July last year to take up a senior position with London Transport, with an adjunct remit to coordinate public transport for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

As one UK public transport executive leaves, another enters following an international executive search.

TransLink Chairman Geoff Harley welcomed the appointment of Neil Scales as the authority’s new Chief Executive Officer.

He says Scales appointment is a ‘significant coup’ for the authority.

Scales’ CV includes executive experience across the north of England, as consultant to the World Bank and the European Commission and the role he will now vacate from Merseytravel.

In 2005, Scales was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to transport.

"He is credited with making Merseytravel one of the best transport authorities in the UK, which makes him an ideal person to lead the TransLink Transit Authority," Harley says.

Scales says it was a hard decision to leave Merseytravel and head to Australia.

"But I have received an offer which was too difficult to refuse," he says.

"For me this is a challenge to make a real difference on the other side of the world and an opportunity of a once-in-a lifetime experience ‘down under’."

Scales this week informed Merseytravel staff in the UK saying he was leaving the Liverpool-based public transport authority in good shape.

Merseytravel councillor Mark Dowd wished Scales a bright future with TransLink.

"I have worked with Neil Scales for fifteen years, and he has been a massive asset to Merseytravel and Merseyside," Dowd says.

"His expertise is not only known and appreciated here, but obviously overseas too, and this is a wonderful opportunity for him to further his career."

With his imminent departure from Liverpool in the UK, Scales says he was now looking forward to continuing to build TransLink's reputation as one of the leaders in integrated transport in Australia.

"I'm excited by the opportunity to work with the customers, state and local governments, local operators and the talented staff at TransLink to deliver the best possible outcomes for south-east Queensland," he says.

"I'm impressed with the significant investment being made by the Queensland Government and the willingness to deliver services and infrastructure for public transport across the region."

Matt Longland will continue as TransLink’s interim CEO until Scales starts in the position in March,


Although the authority’s name might seem like a travel and tourism company, Merseytravel is the integrated public transport authority for the Liverpool region in the United Kingdom, and one of the largest of its type in the UK.

Merseytravel covers the area of Merseyside, being the five districts of Liverpool, Wirral, St Helens, Knowsley and Sefton, and co-ordinates public transport in partnership with bus and rail operators.

The organisation’s aim is to provide a single integrated transport network, which is accessible to everyone.

Unusual as a PTA, as not only does Merseytravel work in partnership with private transport operators, but has the unique status of holding a twenty-five year rail franchise in which it holds the role of the Strategic Rail Authority.

Merseytravel also owns and operates the Mersey Tunnels, the Mersey Ferries, the Spaceport attraction, and The Beatles Story.

Similar to TransLink’s GoCard, Merseytravel also has extensive smart card experience as owner of smart card business ‘Livesmart’.

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