Nottingham City Transport crowned UK Bus Operator of the Year

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More than 650 industry professionals attended this years ceremony, which was held London's Southbank Ballroom. CLIVE SHERLOCK
More than 650 industry professionals attended this years ceremony, which was held London’s Southbank Ballroom. CLIVE SHERLOCK

Elizabeth Howlett reports on the 21st annual UK Bus Awards held at London’s Southbank Ballroom, which took place last week

More than 650 industry professionals attended the UK Bus Awards (UKBA) 2016 for the event’s 21st annual celebration. The awards scheme plays a key role in raising the profile of buses, helping to shape political and passenger perceptions and in recognising and rewarding the achievements of all the people who work so hard in the industry to deliver, plan and promote the services.

Hosting the awards once again was BBC television personality Jane Hill. “I’m sure that when I started coming here I didn’t need these,” quipped Jane as she put on her reading glasses and announced the first award of the evening – the ROSCO (Road Operators Safety Council) Safe Driver Of The Year. The winner of the £500 cash prize was Stagecoach London’s Raymond Clements, who was described as: “A model employee who has received numerous commendations on his driving and has never had a complaint made against him.” UKBA Chairman Tony Depledge was delighted with the turnout.

He enthused: “This is our 21st event and we have 680 people in the hall, which is the largest number of people we have had for many years now. It shows how important the UK Bus Awards is to the industry and is a reflection on the amount of effort that goes into this event from many people.”

The turnout was indeed a significant increase from the 620 attendees in 2015, and the camaraderie around the venue was apparent when supportive cheers and calls could be heard, as operators and staff collected awards or received special commendations. The Bus Awards collection for charity partner Transaid brought in over £4,390.

Tony continued: “I would like to give a special thanks to our patrons, sponsors and teams of people who make it work. We have many hundreds of judges and mystery travellers who have worked so hard.”

He stressed that the mystery travellers’ results played an enormous role in the outcome, alongside the 40 judges’ assessments of the 250 entries. Tony wished to recognise Stagecoach East Scotland and Stagecoach Cumbria for the Overcoming Adversity Award. Stagecoach East Scotland was commended for its action in the Forth Road Bridge Emergency and Stagecoach Cumbria for its 555 shuttle service following Storm Desmond.

The awards saw operators receive praise for their efforts, but there can only be one Bus Operator of The Year. Claiming the award for the fourth time was Nottingham City Transport, after previous victories in 2004, 2012 and 2014.

Stuart Prentice proudly holds the Top Independent Operator trophy won by his family firm, Prentice of Haddington
Stuart Prentice proudly holds the Top Independent Operator trophy won by his family firm, Prentice of Haddington

The silver award winner went to Reading Buses (RB), which was also named the Top Shire Operator for the fourth year in a row. RB took home two other gold awards; the Environment Award for their pioneering work on reducing emissions and Putting Passengers First Award for their forward-looking project on bus service design under the title ‘Enabling Tomorrow’s Customers Today.’ The team at Reading also went home with a Silver Award in the Making Buses a Better Choice category and a Bronze in the New Horizons Award which recognises innovative thinking. Newly promoted Head of Operations at the company, Dan Bassett took home the Silver Award in the Young Manager of the Year category after a very close-fought contest.

Haddington-based family firm Prentice Coaches won the prize of Top Independent Operator. Neighbouring Lothian Buses took the Silver Award in the Top City Operator competition, along with another Silver for the company’s marketing campaign to promote its Night Bus network.

Ian Morgan, Deputy Chairman of Wellglade which owns Trent Barton and Chairman of the industry trade association the Confederation of Passenger Transport since 2011, was presented with The Award for Services to the Bus Industry. Paying tribute to Ian’s 44-year career, the Awards Management Committee highlighted his key role in creating and developing the approaches to product design, marketing and staff training which have made Trent Barton the hugely successful company it is today.

The Local Authority Bus Project of the Year Award was won by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and National Express West Midlamds (NXWM), seen here are; Peter Coates(NXWM), Ray Barry (NXWM), Hynda Waltho (CPT) and Matthew Finn (TfWM)
The Local Authority Bus Project of the Year Award was won by Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and National Express West Midlamds (NXWM), seen here are; Peter Coates(NXWM), Ray Barry (NXWM), Hynda Waltho (CPT) and Matthew Finn (TfWM)

Amongst the major groups, the Go-Ahead Group took home eight awards: a triple of Golds, one Silver and four Bronze Awards. Stagecoach followed by winning five awards – two Gold, two Silver and one Bronze Award. National Express took three, a Gold and two Silvers. The Gold came in the Young Manager of the Year category and was won by Stephanie Maher.

Results list

Bus and the Community Award

  • Gold Award: Helping Hand, Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company
  • Silver Award: Safe Zone Bus, Xplore Dundee
  • Bronze Award: Work experience for students with disabilities, Transport for Greater Manchester

Specially Commended: First Essex supporting Michael Birch and Essex Air Ambulance, First Essex

Finalist: Disability Awareness, Blackpool Transport Services

Finalist: Big Bus Day, East Yorkshire Motor Services

Finalist: First Bus in the Midlands and Trussell Trust Foodbanks, First Bus – Midlands

Peter Green and Mohammed Azim hold the Transport for London Award for London Bus Garage of the Year, which went in Stagecoach London's Leyton Depot.
Peter Green and Mohammed Azim hold the Transport for London Award for London Bus Garage of the Year, which went in Stagecoach London’s Leyton Depot.

Finalist: Skegness Seasiders Team, Stagecoach East Midlands

UK Bus Operator of the Year

sponsored by Arthur J Gallagher& QBE Insurance

  • Gold Award: Nottingham City Transport
  •  Silver Award: Reading Buses
  •  Bronze Award: Prentice Coaches

Environment

  •  Gold Award: To ‘planet Reading’ and beyond!, Reading Buses
  •  Silver Award: Environmental Improvements to Vehicles, First Bus
  •  Bronze Award: Clean Air for Schools, Transport for Greater Manchester

Finalist: Buses Do Their Bit – Durham Air Quality Monitoring Area, Go North East

Finalist: We think the World of Edinburgh, Lothian Buses

Finalist: Inverness ElectriCity, Stagecoach North Scotland

Teansdev Blazefield won the Peter Huntley Memorial Award for Making Buses and Better Choice, Heathrow Airport's Theo Panayi (sponsor) is seen with Transdev Blazefield's Gordon Mallon and Alex Hornby
Teansdev Blazefield won the Peter Huntley Memorial Award for Making Buses and Better Choice, Heathrow Airport’s Theo Panayi (sponsor) is seen with Transdev Blazefield’s Gordon Mallon and Alex Hornby

Local Authority Bus Project of the Year

  • Gold Award: The West Midlands Bus Alliance: A UK first, Centro and National Express West Midlands
  •  Silver Award: Elland Road Park and Ride, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and partners
  •  Bronze Award: Grasshopper Multi-Operator Ticketing, Aberdeenshire Council and partners

London Bus Garage of the Year

  •  Gold Award: Leyton, Stagecoach London
  •  Silver Award: Hounslow Heath, RATP Dev London
  •  Bronze Award: Brixton, Arriva London South

Finalist: Palmers Green, Arriva London

Finalist: Putney, Go-Ahead London

Finalist: Uxbridge, Metroline West

Making Buses a Better Choice: the Peter Huntley Memorial Award

The award for Marketing Initiative of the Year - Silver was awarded to Stagecoach South, Celebrating here are Peter Robinson, Catherine Turness(Winchester BID), Steve Thorpe, Chris Rennant, Paul Denne and Dan Massey
The award for Marketing Initiative of the Year – Silver was awarded to Stagecoach South, Celebrating here are Peter Robinson, Catherine Turness(Winchester BID), Steve Thorpe, Chris Rennant, Paul Denne and Dan Massey
  •  Gold Award: Cityzap, Transdev Blazefield
  •  Silver Award: Leopard and Lion, Reading Buses
  •  Bronze Award: Two Stars in Two Months, bluestar

Finalist: Eclipse – Driving Up Expectations, First Hampshire & Dorset

Finalist: The Castles Express, Go North East

Finalist: South West Falcon, Stagecoach South West

Finalist: Goldline 212, Translink

The Award for Marketing Initiative of the Year

  • Gold Award: Busboost, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive
  •  Silver Award: King’s City, Stagecoach South
  •  Bronze Award: Bus Start, Arriva UK Bus

Finalist: #harveyBus – 410/411 X-Factor initiative, Arriva Yorkshire

Finalist: First Southampton Paints the City Red, First Hampshire & Dorset

Finalist: New Mendip Xplorer Brand, First West of England

Gary Hawthorne and Darian Harris with the New Horizons Award, which went to CheckSafe
Gary Hawthorne and Darian Harris with the New Horizons Award, which went to CheckSafe

New Horizons Award

  •  Gold Award: CheckedSafe Walk Around App, CheckedSafe
  •  Silver Award: Traveline GB Journey Planner, Traveline Information
  •  Bronze Award: claret spritzer, Reading Buses

Finalist: Employee App, First Aberdeen

Finalist: Nerve Centre Revolution, Go North East
Finalist: The Transport for Edinburgh App, Lothian Buses
Finalist: E-paper bus stops, Transport for London

Putting Passengers First

  •  Gold Award: Enabling tomorrow’s customers today, Reading Buses
  •  Silver Award: West Midlands Safer Travel Partnership, National Express West Midlands and partners
  •  Bronze Award: The Transport for Edinburgh App, Lothian Buses

Finalist: Easylink, Nottingham Community Transport

Ian Morgan was recognised for his services to the bus industry
Ian Morgan was recognised for his services to the bus industry

Services to the Bus Industry

  • Gold Award: Ian Morgan OBE, Wellglade

The Award for Sustained Marketing Excellence

  •  Gold Award: Greener Journeys, Greener Journeys
  •  Silver Award: Lothian Buses NightBus, Lothian Buses
  •  Bronze Award: Express City Connect, Stagecoach East Scotland

Finalist: Go, Go, Go!, Go North East

Finalist: The 36 – Riding Redefined, Transdev Blazefield

Top City Operator

  •  Gold Award: Nottingham City Transport
  •  Silver Award: Lothian Buses
  •  Bronze Award: Arriva Merseyside
    Greener Journey won the Award for Sustained Marketing Excellence, pictured here are CEO Claire Haigh(Centre) with her colleagues Nick Collins and Nicole Martin
    Greener Journey won the Award for Sustained Marketing Excellence, pictured here are CEO Claire Haigh(Centre) with her colleagues Nick Collins and Nicole Martin

Finalist: National Express West Midlands

Finalist: Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire

Finalist: Translink Metro

Top National Bus Driver: the Chris Moyes Memorial Award

  •  Gold Award: Dave Forrester, Southern Vectis
  •  Silver Award: Denis McMahon, Abellio Surrey
  •  Bronze Award: Karen Wilson, Arriva Yorkshire

Finalist: Ian Walker, First Aberdeen

Finalist: Michal Kudla, First Essex

Finalist: Bryan Liddle, Transdev Blazefield

Top Independent Operator

  •  Gold Award: Prentice Coaches
    The Award for Sustained Marketing Excellence - Bronze went to Stagecoach East Scotland, pictured here are: Katie Craig, Sarah Elliott and Laura Dickson
    The Award for Sustained Marketing Excellence – Bronze went to Stagecoach East Scotland, pictured here are: Katie Craig, Sarah Elliott and Laura Dickson
  •  Silver Award: Courtney Buses
  •  Bronze Award: Compass Travel (Sussex)

Finalist: Ensign Bus Company
Finalist: Uno Buses (Northampton)

Luke Rees Pulley

Charitable Trust Award for Top London Bus Driver

  •  Gold Award: Dean Golding, Go-Ahead London
  •  Silver Award: Terry Miles, RATP Dev London
  •  Bronze Award: Nadine Allen, CT Plus

Finalist: Felicia Grazette, Abellio London

Finalist: Helen Webster, Arriva London

Finalist: Richard Pincombe, Arriva London

Finalist: Peter Huttly, Go-Ahead London

Southern Vectis' Dave Forrester was crowned Top National Bus Driver
Southern Vectis’ Dave Forrester was crowned Top National Bus Driver

Finalist: Hirji Hirani, Metroline Travel

Top National Bus Depot

  •  Gold Award: St Andrews, Stagecoach East Scotland
  •  Silver Award: Fenstanton, Stagecoach East
  •  Bronze Award: Crawley, Metrobus

Finalist: Tamworth, Arriva Midlands & Shires

Finalist: Gateshead Riverside, Go North East

Finalist: Wolverhampton, Park Lane, National Express West Midlands

Top Shire Operator

  •  Gold Award: Reading Buses
  • Silver Award: Metrobus
  • Bronze Award: Oxford Bus Company
    Top Independent Operator - Silver went to Courtney Buses, seen here are: Bill Courtney, Dawn Webber and Malcolm Venn
    Top Independent Operator – Silver went to Courtney Buses, seen here are: Bill Courtney, Dawn Webber and Malcolm Venn

Finalist: Stagecoach East Midlands

Finalist: Go South Coast

Unsung Heroes Award

  • Gold Award: Ricky Lennon, RATP Dev UK

UKBA Special Commendation for Outstanding Service:
Darren Jackson, Abellio London

UKBA Special Commendation for Outstanding Service: John Gordon, Go North East

UKBA Special Commendation for Outstanding Service: Chris Vest, Reading Buses

UKBA Special Commendation for Outstanding Service: Joe Somers, Stagecoach East

Young Manager of the Year

  • Gold Award: Stephanie Maher, National Express West Midlands
    Reading Buses won Top Shire Operator, some of the Reading team are pictured here:: Tony Pettitt, Phil Herlingshaw, Nikki Ball, Martijn Gilbert, Dan Bassett and John Bickerton
    Reading Buses won Top Shire Operator, some of the Reading team are pictured here:: Tony Pettitt, Phil Herlingshaw, Nikki Ball, Martijn Gilbert, Dan Bassett and John Bickerto
  • Silver Award: Dan Bassett, Reading Buses
  • Bronze Award: Sophie Moorby, Go North East

Specially Commended: Matthew Elsey, First Essex

Finalist: Alistair Timmis, Arriva Midlands & Shires

Finalist: Katie Wagstaff, Stagecoach London