North West

North West

Chris Moyes Memorial Award for Top National Bus Driver

sponsored by Traffilog

Bronze Award Winner

First Manchester

Clare Akehurst

While Clare is relatively new to her role as bus driver, having joined the Oldham depot in January last year, she has demonstrated exemplary driving standards and is already displaying the signs of a first class driver and ambassador for First. Clare received her first praise from a happy customer only five months into the job and her managers are struck by the passion, patience and genuine kindness with which she interacts with passengers, as well as by her enthusiasm for driving and thirst for improvement. Recently appointed to the position of relief service performance supervisor, Clare's high standards make her a worthy finalist.

Engineer of the Year

sponsored by IRTE

Gold Award Winner

Stagecoach Merseyside

Tony Cockcroft

Seconded to Stagecoach Merseyside to control three existing depots and merge two new, underperforming ones as engineering director two years ago, Tony has inspired his teams to be more pro-active and passionate about their job. He raised standards across all five depots and his fresh, approachable manner has improved engineering and operations communications to ensure all depots are working together as a team to achieve ultimate customer satisfaction. His managers now have tools to analyse defect and breakdown information and lost mileage has reduced by 30% across his existing depots. The judges were impressed by Tony's professionalism and his passion for developing his staff at all levels.

Putting Passengers First

sponsored by Euro Bus Expo


Stagecoach Merseyside

Getting Chester back on the bus

Since the acquisition of the former First Bus business in Chester in January 2013, Stagecoach has transformed and re-launched the city service network, offering enhanced service levels, newer, greener buses, lower fares and improved marketing. With the aim of 'Getting Chester Back on the Bus', the company engaged proactively with a wide range of stakeholders and, as a result, has changed the perception of the bus in the area, as well as improving training and facilities for its staff. The resulting 12%, and still growing, increase in passenger numbers in just 18 months impressed the judges.

The Award for Sustained Marketing Excellence

sponsored by Exterion Media


First UK Bus (North Region)

First Manchester - Growth Strategy

After experiencing a historic reduction in patronage and revenue until October 2012, First Manchester ran a strategic marketing campaign to attract new customers through reduced fares, service improvements, and stronger customer foundations in Greater Manchester. Adopting a long-term strategy for commercial stability, the company has achieved substantial growth through improved customer focus and good employee buy-in, generating 14% growth in fee-paying customers in 2013/14, compared to the previous year. The judges were particularly impressed by the four tactical stages of the campaign, each building on key messages and taking customers and staff through a perception-changing process about both bus travel in general and First in Manchester.

Top City Operator

sponsored by INIT Innovations

Silver Award Winner

Stagecoach Manchester

Stagecoach Manchester's investment in staff, services and local community has contributed to continuous passenger and revenue growth for 13 consecutive years and strong passenger satisfaction levels. Carrying 103 million passengers in 2013/14, the company operates a fleet of 900 plus vehicles from six depots across Greater Manchester and employs more than 1,800 staff. The company's commercial and marketing initiatives, epitomised by the provision of a company-funded £3 million park-and-ride at Hazel Grove, impressed the judges on top of high-quality operational reliability and punctuality despite Manchester's 'big city' traffic problems. Stagecoach Manchester's commitment to and ongoing record on 'green' issues and technology also stood out.

Bronze Award Winner

Arriva Merseyside

Arriva Merseyside's ongoing improvement in reliability and punctuality despite the loss of city centre bus lanes in Liverpool is a great credit to the company, which employs approximately 2000 people, operating 632 buses from six depots. People-focused, on both employees and passengers, Arriva Merseyside achieves more than 54 million passenger journeys a year. The judges were particularly impressed by the company's commitment to commercial, environmental, M-Ticketing and social media initiatives, supported by strong investment in new vehicles and sound operational management, all of which have contributed to continued growth.

Unsung Heroes Award

sponsored by Backhouse Jones

Gold Award Winner

Stagecoach Manchester

Chris Icely

Chris Icely joined the bus industry as a conductor 1978 and is now Service Performance Manager at Stagecoach Manchester. Working alongside the company's five depot operations, he leads on highway, crime and security matters with local authorities and Transport for Greater Manchester and on the road regulation and supervision, revenue protection and driver training. Wherever Chris goes, he constructively gets involved, reports on and follows up every single issue and always offers a solution, guidance and his personal help. Due to retire in August 2014, Chris' sustained contribution over many years impressed the judges who said he was exactly the sort of candidate they had in mind when they introduced the Unsung Heroes category.

Young Manager of the Year

sponsored by Chartered Institute of Logisitics & Transport

Gold Award Winner

Arriva North West and Wales

Richard Hoare

The consummate professional, Richard lives and breathes the bus industry. Since joining Arriva in 2007, he has become one of the most respected and experienced managers Arriva has in the North West where he has managed various depots. From his first ever placement in St Helens Garage, he showcased a thorough understanding of complex issues facing him and in his current role as Merseyside General Manager in Bootle, he is a true strategist in both his approach to work and when mentoring colleagues and junior managers. Richard's knowledge about the processes and procedures that go into running a successful depot go far beyond his 29 years. The judges were able to see the passion Richard has for his business and were impressed by the clarity of his vision.


First Group

Rob Hughes

Since joining First in 2011 from the company's graduate scheme, Rob has consistently shown himself as a tenacious individual who shines in every job he is given, taking ownership, challenging positively, and securing wins for the wider team. Rob excelled as part of First's team in the London 2012 Olympics - co-ordinating depots, drivers and fleets and working with a wide range of new stakeholders. Promoted to Operations Manager for First's Bolton depot in November last year, Rob has proactively helped the supervisory and staff management teams develop, especially in positive front line staff engagement and he works closely with Bolton College to promote careers in the bus industry. Clearly motivated by challenges, Rob impressed the judges with his encouragement of fresh thinking.

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