Local authority-owned company wins top prize just two years since it last won the coveted title in a competition dominated by ALBUM members


nct_winnerThe Nottingham City Transport team at this week’s UK Bus Awards


Nottingham City Transport was crowned Operator of the Year at this week’s UK Bus Awards in London. The local authority-owned company took home the coveted prize just two years since it last won the top honour.

NCT fought off competition from last year’s winner, Reading Buses, which took the ‘silver winner’ of the competition after winning gold in the shire operator category. Scottish operator Prentice Coaches was named the ‘bronze winner’ of the competition after taking gold
in the independent operator category.

Judges were particularly impressed by NCT’s close attention to detail in a number of areas and, in particular, efforts to tackle traffic congestion issues due to roadworks by instigating a roadworks consultation regime that ensures the operator is involved at every stage in planning street works.

“The company clearly ticks lots of boxes with investment in new vehicles and facilities for passengers such as next stop announcements and free Wi-Fi across the whole fleet,” said judges. They also commented on the way drivers are looked after with extensive training in customer service skills and offering the highest pay rates for drivers in the region.

Meanwhile, last year’s top operator, fellow municipal Reading Buses, took away a flurry of awards. The operator struck triple gold not only winning the Top Shire Operator category but also being the ‘gold winner’ in both the Environment and Putting Passengers First contests. It also won silver in the Young Manager and Making Buses a Better Choice categories. There was also a bronze award in the New Horizons category and Chris Vest, the operator’s academy trainer, was handed a special commendation in the Unsung Heroes category.

Alongside other council-owned and independents, the ALBUM group of non-aligned operators once again dominated the awards, relegating the nearest big group – Go-Ahead – to second place.

The esteemed accolade for Services to the Industry went to Ian Morgan, co-founder and deputy chairman of Derbyshire-based bus group Wellglade, the parent company of award winning bus operator Trentbarton and sister companies Door2door, Kinchbus, Notts+Derby and TM Travel. The group is also part of the Nottingham Tramlink consortium and holds a 50% share in High Peak Buses.

Morgan has also been active for many years in the industry trade association, the Confederation of Passenger Transport. He served as president in 2009, and has been its chairman since 2011. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2015 and helped to found the UK Bus Awards, serving on the management committee for several of the crucial early years.

In making the award, today’s management committee paid tribute to Morgan’s impressive record in the industry and the wider East Midlands community.


This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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