Thames Valley

Thames Valley

Making Buses a Better Choice: the Peter Huntley Memorial Award

sponsored by Heathrow Airport

Silver Award Winner

Reading Buses

pink shuttle - better for everyone

Listening to customers and cutting fares really does work, Reading Buses has shown in transforming the once dwindling, hourly 27 bus to Lower Caversham into a pink shuttle service. Reading Buses not only persevered with this loss-making service but, following extensive consultation with customers, bravely invested in new buses with the latest technology, reduced the key single fare to £1, and made the service more frequent, efficient and reliable. The result was 13% more passengers in the first year and a service that is now commercial. This shone out to the judges as an excellent example of how a strong local authority partnership, high trip rates and getting the core network right can turn marginal services into a success story.

The Award for Sustained Marketing Excellence

sponsored by Exterion Media

Silver Award Winner

Reading Buses

listen, innovate, improve - the evolution of Reading Buses

Reading Buses has spent the last six years upgrading every element of its marketing mix. Through a series of large and small measures, customers can now access information when and how they want it. Far from resting on its laurels, the company continues to progress with imaginative initiatives to raise the profile of bus travel and attract more customers, from a top-to-toe route revamp growing patronage by 14% on its purple 17 hybrid service to a smartcard campaign increasing online transactions by 437%. The judges were impressed with how Reading Buses' philosophy of listening to its customers had impacted on everything the company does: when it comes to sustained marketing excellence, others in the industry looking to develop their own model need look no further than to Reading.

Top Independent Operator

sponsored by Scania

Finalist

Courtney Buses

Courtney Buses has traditionally operated services to Business Parks and a number of local authorities in addition to providing a town network in Maidenhead. However, 2014 has seen the business expand no end - winning contracts within the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and in Bracknell and Wokingham in Berkshire. The result has been a 20% increase in the fleet size - 11 new buses including electric hybrid vehicles, with most of the other vehicles running on Ultra Biofuel, which impressed the judges. Owner Bill Courtney takes immense pride in the company and its growth and attributes it to the hard work of all his helpful and enthusiastic staff of nearly 90, stringent health and safety assessments, and newly designed CPC courses.

Top Shire Operator

sponsored by Ticketer

Gold Award Winner

Reading Buses

Reading Buses is proud to keeping Reading moving with its network of vividly-coloured buses and an amazing team of more than 400 customer-facing staff. While running a fleet of 150 plus vehicles, the company places customers at the heart of everything it does. Despite challenges of town redevelopment and road works, the company has continued to innovate both commercially and operationally and provide a very high quality of service, evidenced by a 94% overall customer satisfaction rate, the best in England, in the recent Passenger Focus surveys, all of which impressed the judges. The company's proactive relationships with its local authority, customers and staff, and its commitment to environmental initiatives, not least in its major investment in both electric hybrid and gas buses, also shone out.

UK Bus Operator of the Year

sponsored by

Silver Award Winner

Reading Buses

The achievements of Reading Buses in the UK Bus Awards continue to be huge, despite once again just being pipped at the post for the title of UK Bus Operator of the Year. The margin of the results on the mystery traveller score was indeed very close. Even so, the company has won the title of Top Shire Operator for three years in a row, and been runner up in the overall national contest each time. The judges were once again hugely impressed by the company's proactive relationships with its local authority, customers and staff, and its commitment to environmental initiatives, not least in its major investment in both electric hybrid and gas buses. Any customer service business which achieves a 94% overall customer satisfaction rate, as reading did in the recent Passenger Focus survey is doing a seriously good job, and well worthy of recognition in this contest.

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