In 2007, the competition for our "grand prix" award was reorganised to reflect what the Management Committee felt were the very different operating circumstances and managerial challenges for different types of bus company.
Accordingly, there were three distinct competitions in 2007. The winner of each of these then formed the short-list for this award. The three competitions, each of which use the same criteria, were:
- Independent Operator of the Year
- City Operator of the Year
- Shire Operator of the Year
Pre-eminent amongst bus operators in the UK, the UK Bus Operator of the Year, more than any other, delivers consistently excellent customer service. The company will demonstrate its success through sustained effort over the long term.
The winner of the top prize showed how it is financially sound, maintains high operational and engineering standards, gives priority to the Health and Safety of its staff and passengers through comprehensive risk management, invests in its fleet and its staff, forms effective partnerships, identifies with and responds to the communities it serves and always strives to sustain and grow the bus market.
In selecting the overall winner, the UK Bus Operator of the Year, judges considered the different circumstances of operators of varying sizes and operating terrains in reaching their overall conclusion: mystery traveller assessments were also important and turned out to be a deciding factor.
Winner: Lothian Buses
The judges commended Lothian Buses for its transformation in recent years through substantial investment in routes such as the Airlink, city tour and Edinburgh Shuttle, as well as smartcard and other ticketing initiatives. The company was also praised for its 32 percent growth in passenger numbers since 1998 and £100million investment in low-floor buses since 2000.
Runner Up: Konectbus
Eight years after starting, Konectbus now runs over 30 low-floor buses within Norwich and throughout mid-Norfolk. With an average fleet age of 5.1 years, the company has achieved year on year fare-paying passenger growth of over 30% by paying close attention to quality and reliability throughout the business, resulting in an operating margin in excess of 30%.
The judges were very impressed with how far Konectbus has come in the short time since they were formed.
This is undoubtedly a high quality operation, attracting excellent passenger growth with a modern fleet, and achieving superb financial results. Partnership with the local authority, concentration on reliability in a city where traffic congestion has traditionally been a major problem, and in particular their close attention to detail in a significant number of areas of the operation affecting their customers and staff, led the judges to score Konectbus very highly.