East Anglia

Services to the Bus Industry

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Gold Award Winner

Ben Colson

Ben Colson started his career in the bus industry some 45 years ago, working for the National Bus Company. He went on to hold a number of line management posts, before joining the embryonic Stagecoach Group when they bought the NBC subsidiary for which he was working in 1987. He worked for the group until 2002 in a number of senior commercial management roles, including, from 1996, Stagecoach Manchester, subsequently acting in a consultancy role, and making frequent visits to overseas subsidiaries. In 1996, together with a key business partner, he bought a small West Norfolk bus and coach company with three vehicles called Norfolk Green. Over the next 18 years, the business grew steadily until it operated over 70 buses over a wide, sparsely populated area of North and West Norfolk, North Cambridgeshire and South Lincolnshire. After a period of ill-health, Ben and his colleagues sold the company to Stagecoach at the end of 2013. Throughout his career, he has also been an active campaigner for the industry, helping with the development of bus policy for the industry's trade association, CPT, and serving as an operator representative on a Government advisory group. Locally, he has been a member of and chaired a number of local community and partnership boards in West Norfolk. Since retiring from day to day bus operations, Ben has remained active in the industry and was appointed as Chairman of the Association of Local Bus Managers (ALBUM) in the summer of 2014. Throughout his career, Ben has been an inspirational leader, believing passionately in the future of our industry. He has led by example, building a highly successful, multi-award winning company and in the process advancing the cause of high-quality rural transport. He has campaigned tirelessly for the industry, regularly undertaking speaking engagements and lectures to a wide range of different audiences.

Top Independent Operator

sponsored by Scania

Silver Award Winner

Ipswich Buses

Ipswich Buses is an operator with a reputation for providing a steady, good quality bus operation, reflected by a high customer satisfaction score of 93% in the most recent Passenger Focus survey, the second highest in England. Operating a fleet of nearly 90 vehicles throughout Ipswich and employing more than 200 employees, the company impressed the judges with its new customer service strategy. The strategy includes benchmarking against successful organisations within and outside the transport sector, proactive use of social media, methods of consultation with customers, and a number of new commercial initiatives to grow passenger numbers such as much improved links to out-of-town centres and its Sunday 'Happy Hour'.

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