Nottingham City Transport wins the top prize for the second time in three years while Arriva leads the major groups by winning total of nine awards


Pictured: The Nottingham City Transport managing director Mark Fowles


Nottingham City Transport was again crowned Operator of the Year at last week’s UK Bus Awards in London. The local authority-owned company took home the coveted prize, and the award for Top City Operator, for the second time in three years, having previously won them both in 2012.

NCT’s strong track record of investment, growth and commercial innovation hugely impressed the judges – and this was backed up by excellent mystery traveller scores. The company’s Les Roome also struck ‘Gold’ as Top National Bus Driver.

Celebrating the achievements of companies, local government, supporting organisations and individuals across Britain in contributing to the success of buses, the 2014 UK Bus Awards introduced Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for the first time.

The ‘Silver’ winner in the Operator of the Year category went to another local authority-owned firm, Reading Buses, which finished in the runner-up spot for the third year running having again triumphed in the Top Shire Operator category. ‘Bronze’ was claimed by Purfleet-based Ensignbus, the Independent Operator of the Year.

The Award for Services to the Industry went to Ben Colson, former owner and managing director of Norfolk Green, who has given over 45 years service and been a powerful force in making the case for the bus industry. Colson sold the 70-vehicle firm to Stagecoach last year (PT073).

First Rail Support and Stagecoach received special commendations for their efforts in ‘Overcoming Adversity’ during the period of disruption to the rail network in the South West following severe flooding earlier this year. A Special Award for the delivery of Bus and Coach Transport for the 2014 Commonwealth Games was presented jointly to First Games Transport and First Glasgow who, following years of planning and testing, deployed and managed some 580 buses and coaches from a team of operators from across the British Isles, for the 12-day period of the Games.

Arriva topped the major groups by winning nine awards in total – including a triple of Gold, Silver and Bronze in the Young Manager of the Year category, which was won overall by Richard Hoare, Merseyside general manager in Bootle for Arriva North West and Wales. Gold awards also went to Arriva the Shires & Essex’s Milton Keynes Electric Bus Trial for Innovation and to the group’s Yorkshire and North East businesses for Sustained Marketing Excellence for its ‘Business-to-Business Go Growth’ strategy.

Stagecoach won three Gold awards and five in total. Stagecoach East Midlands’ Skegness Seasiders won Marketing Initiative of the Year, while Stagecoach Merseyside’s Tony Cockcroft snapped up Engineer of the Year. Chris Icely, who joined the bus industry as a conductor 1978 and was, until retirement earlier this year, service performance manager at Stagecoach Manchester, won the Unsung Heroes award.

FirstGroup’s Carbon Smart Project topped the Environment category – one of five awards won by its businesses. First West of England also gained a Silver award in the Marketing Initiative of the Year category, for its Fairer Fares, Bristol Fare Consultation.

Go-Ahead won two Gold awards – the group’s Metrobus subsidiary saw its Crawley depot gaining Gold as Top National Bus Depot while Go-Ahead London’s Natasha Lambert, based in Merton, was named as the Top London Bus Driver.

A Silver award went to National Express West Midlands’ Paul Prosser, based at the Pensnett depot, in the Top National Bus Driver category.

Meanwhile, partnership was also in the spotlight at the awards, as Centro and its partners struck gold in the Putting Passengers First category for their Partnership Plus initiative. Following the success of the Transforming Bus Travel partnership with National Express and other bus operators in the West Midlands, Partnership Plus is an enhanced, shared vision to improve bus travel through a high-quality, accessible bus network. The entry impressed the judges by what has been achieved through the genuine involvement of stakeholders.

The lunchtime ceremony at London’s Hilton Park Lane was hosted by BBC News presenter Jane Hill. Guest of honour, Sir Peter Hendy, president of UITP, the international public transport union, and transport commissioner for London, presented the awards.


People Awards:

  • Services to the Bus Industry: Ben Colson (ex Norfolk Green)
  • Unsung Heroes: Chris Icely, Stagecoach Manchester
  • Top National Bus Driver: Les Roome, Nottingham City Transport
  • Young Manager of the Year: Richard Hoare, Arriva North West & Wales (Bootle)
  • Engineer of the Year: Tony Cockcroft, Stagecoach Merseyside

Technical & Professional Awards:

  • Local Authority Bus Project of the Year: SEStran, BusTracker
  • Marketing Initiative of the Year: Stagecoach East Midlands, Skegness Seasiders
  • Sustained Marketing Excellence: Arriva North East and Yorkshire, Business to Business – Go Growth!
  • Innovation: Arriva the Shires & Essex, Milton Keynes Electric Bus Project
  • Environment: FirstGroup, Carbon Smart Project
  • Making Buses a Better Choice: trentbarton, zoom
  • Putting Passengers First: Centro and partners, ‘Transforming Bus Travel: Partnership Plus’

Operator Awards:

  • Top Independent Operator: Ensignbus
  • Top City Operator: Nottingham City Transport
  • Top Shire Operator: Reading Buses
  • UK Bus Operator of the Year: Nottingham City Transport
  • Top National Bus Depot: Metrobus, Crawley depot

London Awards:

  • London Bus Garage: Abellio London & Surrey (Battersea)
  • Top London Bus Driver: Natasha Lambert, Go-Ahead


This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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