National Express celebrates partner operators with awards

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National Express UK Coach has celebrated the hard work of its partner operators with a virtual awards ceremony. Gloucestershire-based Bennett’s Coaches was crowned Overall Operator of the Year, as well as picking up awards for Sustained High Achievement, Best Fleet and Operator of the Year for 6 to 10 vehicles.

Chris Lucassi, Operations Manager at Bennett’s Coaches said: “We are extremely proud to receive such great recognition from National Express. We have an incredible team of people at Bennett’s Coaches – the back office team, cleaners, engineers and of course the drivers, who go out there and deliver excellence every day. These awards are for all of them.”

The Operator of the Year category is based on the company’s engineering standards, the number of miles operated and customers carried, as well as praise and complaints. Winners included Reading Buses who won the title for the one to five vehicles category, Luckett’s Coaches for 11 to 20 vehicles, and Edwards Coaches Bristol for over 21 vehicles.

The Customer Experience Excellence award went to Galloway European for excelling in punctuality, communication, coach cleanliness and their overall boarding process. TravelStar European scored a double hit with an award for Sustained High Achievement and the Driving Out Harm accolade in recognition of excellence in safety.

Meanwhile, Bernard Kavanagh & Sons won the Go Green award for minimal vehicle–related incidents and Chalfonts of Northampton achieved Most Improved Operator status. Kevin Watkins of Yeomans Canyon Travel was named as Engineer of the Year; while the Golden Spanner awards were presented to an impressive 75% of the network for exceeding expectations in engineering.

Chris Hardy, Managing Director at National Express UK Coach said: “We usually hand out the awards for the previous year every March as part of our annual conference and awards dinner. While it wasn’t possible this year, we felt it was more important than ever to recognise the achievements so did it virtually instead.

“We wouldn’t be National Express without our operators and their response to Covid-19 has really demonstrated this. Each and every one of them has allowed us to safely get back on the road after a three-month suspension so I was really pleased to be able to have the opportunity to recognise their efforts and celebrate them as valued partners.”