UK Bus Awards showcases talent, innovation and achievement for a 20th year

 

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Bus companies, local government and supporting organisations across Britain are celebrating their shining success in the 2015 UK Bus Awards which this week reached a momentous milestone as it announced the winners of its 20th annual competition.

The scheme has played a key role in raising the profile of buses, reflecting and shaping the landscape in which services operate and of course, in recognising and rewarding the achievements of the bus industry and inspiring others with winning approaches.

Reading Buses struck quadruple gold by winning the much-coveted title of UK Bus Operator of the Year award after qualifying as Top Shire Operator. The company’s strong performance in the mystery travelling in a challenging and congested operating environment meant that the judges had little hesitation in naming Reading Buses as the Gold Award winner in this category. This is the third year in a row in which it has been named as Top Shire Operator; and the company took home five 2015 trophies after winning Gold Awards in both the Marketing Excellence and Marketing initiative contests and scooping a Bronze Award in the Environment category.

Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company took the Gold Award for Top City Operator while Guildford-based Safeguard Coaches was named Top Independent Operator.

To mark the 20th year of the UK Bus Awards, a 20th Anniversary Special award was awarded to Ray Stenning, Director of Best Impressions, for his immense and pioneering contribution to design in the bus industry. Stenning is responsible for bus liveries on services such as trentbarton’s Rainbow 4 and Reading Buses Jet Black and a huge range of award-winning marketing campaigns for bus operators up and down the country. He has long advised and urged the industry towards a positive and empowering style of communicating with staff and the outside world.

The esteemed accolade of Services to the Industry went to Dr William Wright – founder of the Ballymena-based Wrightbus manufacturer renowned not least for building the New Routemaster and Streetlite micro hybrid bus. William began his career working in his father’s shed behind their house at Warden Street in Ballymena in the 1940s. Now in his late 80s, he still turns up for work every day in his beloved electric car.

The Go-Ahead Group topped the major groups by winning ten awards in total – a triple of Gold Awards, three Silver and four Bronze Awards. Go-Ahead’s Brighton & Hove subsidiary struck Gold in two categories – in the Putting Passengers First category for its ‘Accessible travel for our city’ entry and in winning the coveted Top City Operator award. Meanwhile, the group’s Metrobus subsidiary excelled in the Making Buses A Better Choice category with its ‘Upgrade to the Fastway service’ entry.

Stagecoach followed by winning seven awards – two Gold, four Silver and one Bronze Award. Stagecoach North East’s Sunderland depot hit Gold by winning the Top National Depot award while Stagecoach South’s Martin Gibbon, who runs the company’s Winchester and Andover depots, won the Young Manager of the Year category.

Arriva was in close pursuit, winning six awards – one Gold Award, one Silver and four Bronze Awards. Arriva Yorkshire’s Anthony Lowe – Engineering Manager at the company’s Castleford Depot – received the golden glow by winning the Engineer of the Year award.

Finally, Firstgroup won two Bronze Awards both won by First Manchester’s ‘The Greater Manchester Young Person’s mTicket’ entry in the Marketing Initiative of the Year and Innovation categories.

Congratulating all the winners, UK Bus Awards chairman Tony Depledge commented: “It’s great that the 20th year of the UK Bus Awards scheme shows yet again what can be achieved for the benefit of passengers and the communities we serve.

“Every year of the Scheme has reminded us that where authorities and operators align their priorities and develop schemes together, the results can inspire the whole industry for the constant improvement in service quality that our passengers deserve,” he continued.

“Once again we have been able to recognise inventive marketing, innovative engineering and outstanding customer service and to reward the commitment that is shown across the industry – and it’s that recognition and reward that we believe inspires us all.

DePledge concluded: “Every one of the 400 entrants has a good story to tell; all the finalists deserve their nominations, every Gold, Silver and Bronze winner is a lesson and an inspiration.  While celebrating 20 years of the scheme, we’re celebrating even more what has been achieved again this year – and the challenge for next year, of course, of delivering yet more!”

The lunchtime ceremony took place on London’s South Bank before an audience of more than 620. It was hosted by BBC News Presenter Jane Hill and guest of honour Jeff Halliwell, who took over as Chair of passenger and road user watchdog Transport Focus in February this year.

More details on the winners, finalists and awards scheme can be found at the UK Bus Awards website.

 

This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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