07 November 2007

UK Bus Awards 2007

The UK Bus Awards exists to recognise, reward and inspire excellence and good practice in the UK bus industry. The short-list for this year's prizes was announced on 19 September at the organisation's annual seminar, and the winners were announced earlier today at a ceremony at the Old Billingsgate Conference Centre in the City of London. The final award to be made - and arguably the most prestigious for larger operators, that of Belmont International Bus Operator of the Year - was announced live on BBC One's The One Show just after 1900hrs, with a live relay from Billingsgate.

The three finalists in this category were: Independant Operator, Konectbus; Shire Operator, Stagecoach Cambridgeshire; and City Bus Operator, Lothian Buses. The award was given to Lothian. I have a very strong affiliation to one of the three finalists listed and want to elaborate further without being too partisan.

The Company in question is that which I'm actually employed by; they pay my wages and keep me in work. I have worked for them for just under 4 years and when comparing them to another operation within the same company, whom I worked for from 1997-2003, are in my honest opinion far, far superior. My current employer has a far more centralised management structure, directors who have a keen eye for fine detail, an ability to understand and also acknowledge that on occasions the throwing of money at a problem is the only way to remedy the situation. My former employer within the same company did not either realise or act upon these basic yet fundamental elements of its business and is almost certainly why it has never, ever been shortlisted at all in these awards.

Most shockingly is that such gaps within a single organisation can exist. I'm sure my former employer excels in areas where my current one lags behind and that my current employer has been criticised on all sides for paying a disproportionately low wage for the area in which it operates, but in the scheme of things is the far greater company to work for. I had the firm belief that all large bus operators were the same, or a variation on a very general theme. I have learned over the past 4 years that this is simply not the case, even within the same large organisation large differences can and do occur.

I am glad to be employed by my current depot and its worth noting that I also thoroughly enjoyed my time at my former depot within the same company. But as someone like myself, someone who takes a very keen interest in the industry which I work and someone who has a very keen eye for detail myself, can see exactly why we were both nominated and shortlisted for the 'big one'.

The other winners were:

  • Titan Outdoor City Operator of the Year
    Lothian Buses

  • The DfT Award for 'Winning new customers'
    Stagecoach R&D Team "Where You Want To Be"

  • Shire Operator of the Year
    Stagecoach Cambridgeshire

  • Scania Independant Operator of the Year

  • Halcrow Transport Authority of the Year
    Kent County Council

  • Chris Moyes Memorial Award for Industry People of the Year
    Alan Bwye, First London

  • CBS Outdoor Award for Bus Marketing Campaign of the Year
    Stagecoach South "Cruise Along The Coast"

  • The Colin Buchanan Award for Infrastructure
    Kent County Council & Arriva Southern Counties "Fastrack"

  • The Bus in the Countryside
    Norfolk Green "Rural Growth Toolkit"

  • The Alexander Dennis Award for Innovation
    Kent County Council & Arriva Southern Counties "Fastrack"

  • The Claudia Flanders Memorial Award for Accessibility
    joint between Nottinghamshire County Council "Mobility City" & WY Metro "My Bus"

  • The BAA Heathrow Award for Integration
  • Stagecoach East "Service X1"

  • Street Transit Award
    Nottingham Express Transit

  • Express Coach Operator of the Year
    Oxford Bus Company "Airline"

  • The Luke Rees-Pulley Charitable Trust Award for ‘Top London Bus Driver’
    Danny Tiwari, London General

  • The TfL London Buses Garage of the Year
    Brixton, Arriva South London

  • TfL London Buses London Customer Service Champion of the Year
    Ahmed Serhani, Metroline driver

  • Services to the Bus Industry
    Michael Steward, First London