Greater London

Greater London

Engineer of the Year

sponsored by IRTE

Finalist

London United Busways

Leigh Vardanega

When Leigh Vardanega was appointed Engineering Manager at London United's Hounslow depot in 2012, he was faced with the huge task of transforming working culture to raise the bar in engineering performance in London. Through managerial skill, financial acumen, leadership and engineering excellence, he has instilled a sense of pride in his engineers and created an ethos of openness, teamwork and personal accountability. Rigorous quality checking and reading of all driver defect logs - above the required 20% - means standards are high and he is proud of a 100% MOT pass rate. Leigh's approach and ability to deliver such positive results impressed the judges.

Innovation

sponsored by Alexander Dennis

Silver Award Winner

Transport for London

Delivering a Cash-free Bus Network in London

TfL is leading the way in removing cash from the bus network. Cash ceased being collected by drivers from July 2014, on the basis that 99% of bus users already use pre-paid Oyster cards, on-the-day contactless bankcard payments or concessionary passes. A series of safeguards were rolled out to make the transition as simple, seamless and straightforward as possible, including a 'one more journey' feature on Oyster a month in advance. The judges recognised the advantages that cashless ticketing could bring. The industry was likely to move in this direction but it was important it should do so in a way that does not deter people from travelling.

London Bus Garage of the Year

sponsored by Transport for London

Gold Award Winner

Abellio London & Surrey

Battersea

Battersea is Abellio's largest garage, with over 500 staff, and its performance has rocketed in the last few months - from climbing TfL league tables to new recruits actively looking to join up. Managers and supervisors have been empowered to bring about change locally. A 'Welcome to Wow!' campaign to encourage drivers to say hello to passengers has also driven up the number of customer commendations dramatically and drivers receive rewards such as Hall of Fame photos and the Abellio Excellence Gold Tie for exceptional customer service. An impressive amount of work has gone into developing team spirit, from coffee mornings to celebrating big sporting events with live matches and Battersea is also proactive in its charity and community work, supporting local schools and elderly centre. All in all, the judges felt Battersea was delivering a first-rate performance against all criteria.

Silver Award Winner

Stagecoach London

Romford

Stagecoach London's Romford garage of over 300 staff has a mature, stable and focused team of drivers and engineers who have embraced the challenge of adapting to new methods of assessment while maintaining traditional values to drive up standards. Developments such as Green Road to measure driver performance have improved customer service. Meanwhile, engineers have shown ownership, pride and teamwork by painting their workshop and have achieved 10% or more energy savings in the last two years. Community links are strong, with careful attention paid to being a good neighbour to local residents and recent involvement with a dementia alliance. The judges were impressed by the remarkably low staff turnover rate of 3.2% with average length of service being the highest at 15 years and fostering strong team bonds.

Finalist

Go Ahead London

Sutton

Go-Ahead London's Sutton garage prides its teamwork and positive work ethics as the main factors driving success. Customer service improvements have been achieved by talking with members of the local community and identifying areas for attention, while local forums have enabled drivers to recognise the specific needs of the disabled and elderly and others. Drivers consistently achieve high scores in TfL's driver assessment programme, with small rewards given for the highest marks. The garage also has well-supported Sports and Social Club and works closely with local schools and senior citizens. The judges were impressed that a Quality of Service Excess Waiting Time of nearly 15% better than the minimum standard required for routes operated had been achieved.

Finalist

London United Busways Ltd

Hounslow Heath

London United prides its Hounslow Heath garage on strong team spirit, customer service and community presence, as well as an ability to deal quickly with any gaps in service. Garage bulletins and the in-house journal are used to promote performance improvements and high standards in customer service are encouraged through refresher seminars and discussion and follow-up with each driver on the results of mystery traveller surveys. For each customer commendation, the driver receives personally thanked by the manager and a letter of appreciation. The judges welcomed the team spirit that has been developed, with a 'one garage, one team' approach and a clear absence of a 'them and us' culture while active relationships with schools encourage children how to behave like model citizens on the bus.

Finalist

Metroline Travel Limited

Kings Cross

Metroline operates three routes within central London from its Kings Cross garage of 180 staff and won 'Garage of the Year' at the company's service awards this year. Its new focus and culture of commitment to both staff and passengers has driven up performance, with a newsletter developed and plasma screen updated with relevant and localised content. Mystery Traveller reports are discussed with individual drivers and they are commended for all positive points raised. Many drivers now receive commendations for exceptional service every month and the judges were impressed that Kings Cross consistently receives an unblemished record for interaction and professionalism where drivers fully understand the need to be polite and professional at all times.

Finalist

Metroline Travel Limited

Potters Bar

Metroline's Potters Bar garage of nearly 400 staff values its community ties, history, and record of long service. Positive growth and turnaround since 2010 are reflected through substantial investment in new buses, management development training and staff coaching with regular management 'one to one' sessions with feedback on key initiatives such as a 'Thank you driver' campaign aimed at improving awareness of vulnerable passengers. Team spirit has been fostered by monthly open forums, a garage newsletter, a driver bonus scheme, new driver rest areas and a refurbished, rebranded and re-launched canteen. The judges were impressed with steps to enhance community relations such as fund-raising garage open days for local charities, engagement with local youth groups and local disability groups.

Luke Rees Pulley Charitable Trust Award for Top London Bus Driver

sponsored by Transport for London

Gold Award Winner

The Go-Ahead Group plc

Natasha Lambert - Merton

Natasha is valued as a "brilliant", "flexible" and "level-headed" asset to Go-Ahead's Merton depot where she has been driving for 13 years. While she has impressed customers with her welcoming smile, skilful driving and her ability to calm an irate passenger over delays beyond her control, she has earned a reputation for going out of her way to help her colleagues - mentoring new drivers and providing advice to experienced ones and assisting supervisors with staff cover. She has been invaluable in coming up with new initiatives and ideas to assist Merton's Accident Prevention Team and with her Institute of Advanced Motoring qualification, she sets a standard for careful and considerate driving that is appreciated by customers. Natasha deserves recognition for her hard work and the judges felt that her attitude to the job was exceptional.

Silver Award Winner

CT Plus

Mohammed Shabir - Ash Grove

Mohammed is considered a shining example of the idea that excellence in the bus industry combines the best of driving with the best of face-to-face customer care. His managers have received more letters of commendation from the public than any other driver and praise on social media forum in Walthamstow where he drives on Route W12 for CT Plus. This reinforced by top-score mystery driving assessments and Telematics data shows consistent excellence, nearing 99% over the year with almost no instances of harsh braking or acceleration. In providing a safe and comfortable journey for passengers Mohammed also helps to reduce the carbon footprint in line CT Plus' values as a social enterprise. His excellent all-round performance impressed the judges.

Silver Award Winner

London United Busways Ltd

Richard Emerton - Fulwell

Richard's love of bus driving, his outstanding approach to the job and first-class driving skills have not gone unnoticed by his managers. Equipped with 10 years' bus driving experience, he relishes the positive contribution he makes to keeping London on the move and in passing on his skills to new recruits. Visitors and tourists find him a mine of information about the capital and its public transport network and he is particularly sensitive to the needs of less mobile customers, doing whatever he can to ensure they feel welcome. He is also extremely supportive of TfL's measures to boost reliability, valuing small measures such as maintaining headway as important as the larger initiatives, and it was clear to the judges he fulfils his role to a high standard.

Finalist

Metrobus

Chola Mitchell - Croydon

Chola's confident bubbly personality shone out from the moment she started working for Metrobus' Croydon depot in July 2012. The 119 route she works on links Croydon and Bromley and attracts a high turnover of passengers, yet she has still made her mark on passengers who have taken the trouble to commend her consideration for their needs, her politeness and driving standards after meeting her only once. Popular with her colleagues and showing a real interest in being able to help everyone, Chola has scored Grade 1s in all three in-house assessments, attracting comments for her good customer service and her welcoming approach to boarding passengers. The judges noted she takes good care of older customers and felt her positive outlook to the job was inspirational to others.

Finalist

Epsom Buses

Trevor Stotten

Trevor is regarded as a 'silent hero' at Quality Line's Epsom depot, standing out for his professionalism and diplomacy. He treats all passengers on his X26 Croydon to Heathrow route as individuals, keeping them fully informed if there are delays, and providing help and reassurance when needed. Trevor also takes a keen interest in operational performance and works closely with engineers to maintain high standards, so there is hardly any lost mileage due to mechanical issues. The judges were impressed with Trevor's attitude - before London Buses went cashless in the summer, he made sure all his colleagues knew where travellers from overseas could purchase Oyster Cards, listing all the local newsagents and shops in the area. When asked why, his answer was simple: "My job is to help and assist our passengers and make it easier for the drivers".

Finalist

The Go-Ahead Group plc

Alex Burrows - Bexleyheath

With 12 years' experience of driving for Go-Ahead London, Alex understands the importance of exceptional customer service in operating a local bus service. Driving the 486 route which serves Bexleyheath and North Greenwich, he is kind and helpful towards passengers and makes full use of the on-bus PA system to update on delays and route information, always encouraging new drivers to feel confident at passing on important messages in the same way. His previous experience as a police officer in the Royal Parks equips him to deal with all types of situations professionally and the safety of his passengers is a top priority for him. The judges admired his commitment and dedication to enhance the role of the professional bus driver - exactly the intention of this award.

Finalist

Abellio London & Surrey

Damien Nota - Battersea

Loved by his customers, Damien puts his personality, charm and joy for the job into every journey he makes. After spending most of his 13 years in the industry in Yorkshire, he joined Abellio's Battersea depot earlier this year and in only five months, he has received 13 accolades from colleagues and customers - one describing him as "the happiest bus driver I've ever met" and worthy of a medal. His manager has said if Abellio could bottle Damien's approach, attitude, energy and enthusiasm, it would. The judges noted that Damien has already won an Abellio Excellence Gold Tie and were pleased he is now a new driver mentor, helping to introduce new recruits to the Abellio way and passing on his wisdom and approach.

Finalist

Abellio London & Surrey

Andrew Phillip - Battersea

Described by colleagues as passionate, vivacious and charming, loving his customers and his route, Richard shows outstanding levels of customer service. Five of his 10-year experience has been at Abellio's Battersea garage where he has constantly received glowing feedback from customers who reiterate his positive attitude. His customer service skills have won him an Abellio Excellence Gold Tie after which, selected from 13,000 people, he won his company's Employee of the Year award. Andrew's manager says that his positive outlook lifts morale and has a hugely valuable effect on his colleagues and he always takes time to answer questions and support his colleagues. Andrew impressed the judges as an excellent ambassador for both his company and for the bus driving profession.

Putting Passengers First

sponsored by Euro Bus Expo

Finalist

Transport for London

'All Aboard!'

Transport for London and accessibility charities, Transport for All and Age UK, came together in 2013 to develop a new awareness training programme for all 24,500 London bus drivers. The interactive programme called 'All Aboard' is designed to give London bus drivers a greater understanding of the needs of older and disabled passengers, building on TfL's on-going commitment to making London's bus network easier to access for these passenger groups. The practicality of the training and how highly interactive it is, encouraging drivers to get involved and giving them a strong and real understanding of the issues, particularly appealed to the judges.

Unsung Heroes Award

sponsored by Backhouse Jones

Finalist

Abellio London & Surrey

Brian Reeves

When Brian became Driving Standards Manager (DSM) at Battersea Depot in May 2012, collisions were at an all-time high and investigations and action such as training or disciplinaries were in need of consistency. Now Abellio's most passionate DSM, Brian has worked around the clock to bring about a 42% reduction in collisions in Battersea, using various proactive techniques to educate drivers and improve standards. His H2O challenge to drive an obstacle course around the depot with a full glass of water on the dashboard and not spill a drop engaged colleagues and he rewards drivers who, for example, achieve commendations or top driving scores with a certificate and cash voucher. The judges agreed Brian has made a significant contribution in a short amount of time.

Young Manager of the Year

sponsored by Chartered Institute of Logisitics & Transport

Silver Award Winner

Arriva London

Nick Faichney

Nick is a Deputy Operating Manager for Arriva London's Enfield depot after joining the company's graduate scheme some four years ago. Extremely well liked amongst both drivers and colleagues, Nick spends as much time with his staff as possible and dedicates much of his management time to working in the traffic office with his team of supervisors to ensure they feel supported and understand how their actions help to deliver a first class bus service. In just six months, working with his manager, Nick has raised the efficiency of Enfield depot from bronze status to gold, with an overall improvement of nearly 25%. Passionate and innovative, Nick made a positive impression on the judges, who felt he has a bright future in the industry.

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