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Rachel Hughes of Surbon Consulting expert transport consulting and customer experience management

expert transport consulting, bid management and customer experience management services

Rachel Hughes, Director of Surbon Consulting

Rachel founded Surbon Consulting in 2013 helping clients in the transport sector win bids and then implement bid proposals, expanding to open a Dubai office in 2018.  To date she has worked on over 14 large scale transport bids covering a number of different modes: metro, ferry, rail, cycle hire, electric scooters and autonomous vehicles.  Clients include Stagecoach, KeolisAmey, Serco, MTR, Go-Ahead and infrastructure operators such as Network Rail.

She regularly offers pro bono advice to the third sector and helped Sustrans win the Quietways bid to Transport for London in 2014.  More recently she helped support UAE Oxbridge applicants by interviewing them. Rachel is also a speaker gaining a Toastmaster's Certificate of Competent Communicator and has spoken at Oxford University Summer Schools to answer prospective students' questions on applying to Oxford.

In her spare time, Rachel is an avid sportswoman, gaining 3 Blues at Oxford for cycling and winning the Oxford University Sportswoman of the Year in 2007.  More recently she raised £20,000 ($25,000) for Maggie's Centre in 2017 by swimming the North Channel with her mother.  They became the first ever two-person relay team to swim between Northern Ireland and Scotland, along the way battling the cold, strong tides and the odd jellyfish!

Years Running Surbon
+ Years Industry Experience
Transport Bids
Transport Mobilisations 

14 years of Transport Industry Experience

In the transport industry, working across rail, metro, bus, ferry and cycle hire contracts

Part of Winning Bid Teams

KeolisAmey's £5 billion bid for Wales and Borders network and Serco's bid for Caledonian Sleeper.  Delivered a step change in customer experience from the first day of contract.

Experienced Team Leader

Well used to leading teams to deliver results quickly and effectively.

Passionate about delivering tangible results

University of Oxford Graduate

Member of International Union of Public Transport (UITP)


From Oxford University to founding a consultancy firm with offices in Europe and Middle East, Rachel has a wealth of varied experience in the transport industry.

Jun 2013 - Current: Director | Surbon Consulting

Experienced lead for large-scale transport bids (metro, rail, ferry, cycle hire, electric scooter and autonomous vehicles) focusing on commercial, customer experience and sustainability initiatives to deliver results.

Apr 2011 - Jun 2013: Consultant | ADAS (Sustainability Consultancy)

Managed the sustainability team and delivered costs and carbon saving to public and private sector clients.

Oct 2008 - Nov 2010: Consultant | Best Foot Forward (Sustainability Consultancy)

Lead researcher on Rail Standards and Safety Board's (RSSB) first ever carbon footprint of the UK railway industry. Engaged with both Train Operating Companies (TOCs), Freight Operating Companies (FOCs) and Network Rail to collect data and present findings.

Sep 2007 - Aug 2008: Transport Engineer | WSP Global

Led transport carbon footprint model engaging across the UK business to obtain input from team members.

2007 - 2008: MSc Carbon Management | Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh University

Groundbreaking masters which provided a high level of skills and training in the business, economics and science of climate change

2007 - 2008: BA (Hons) Geography | University of Oxford

Awarded a Mary Allen Scholarship for getting a 1st in mods (First Year Exams).

Awarded Oxford University Sportswoman of the Year for achievements in cycling and triathlon and received 3 Blues for sport.