YELLOW Buses has a new boss who wants the company to become a benchmark for quality in the industry.

Andrew Smith has been appointed managing director of Bournemouth Transport Ltd.

He succeeds Derek Lott, who has become executive chairman after nine years as MD.

Mr Smith told the Daily Echo: “I’m absolutely chuffed to take over.”

He said the company did not need “significant change” but added: “My vision for the business is a focus on quality.

“I have this vision that in three years’ time we’ll be the benchmark for local bus companies in the UK.

“The quality of our business will be what people point to.”

Mr Smith’s background is in commercial accountancy. He worked in aerospace engineering in Wimborne, in retailing in Bristol, and at Hanson Aggregates Ltd, where he became divisional finance director.

He joined Yellow Buses as finance director in 2006, shortly after Bournemouth council sold it to Transdev.

“I came in right at the beginning, after Transdev had made their plan, but a lot of it hadn’t been implemented,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to see how it’s grown and for a business in a really challenging environment we’re holding our own.”

Mr Smith became deputy MD in 2006.

He said the company had some “really committed, enthusiastic and hard-working people” whose talents he intended to use.

The company expects to buy new buses this year.

“I’d like to disprove the adage that an accountant knows the price of everything and the value of nothing,” added Mr Smith.

Yellow Buses – now part of RATP Group, the world’s fifth-largest public transport provider – operates 150 buses and 16 coaches, with a staff of more than 400.

It carries more than 15 million passengers a year.