John A. Rhodes was born in 1949. He worked as a civil servant for the Department of Environment, Transport and Cabinet Office between 1971 to 1988, before being appointed as the Director General, West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, serving in this post until 1992. He then worked in British Railways’ Business Review Department between 1992 and 1993.

After leaving British Railways in 1993 he worked as Passenger Services Director in the Office of the Rail Regulator until 1999. He then become a public transport and management consultant until 2014 and between 2004 and 2014 also served as the Chair of the Delay Attribution Board.