City Operator 2007

Sponsored by

The logo of sponsor Titan Bus


This award was open to companies based in, or operating wholly or mainly in the PTE areas (Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Tyne and Wear, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, West Midlands), Greater London or other major cities meeting our population size and density tests. These were: Belfast, Bristol, Brighton & Hove, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Kingston-upon-Hull, Leicester, Nottingham, Plymouth and Stoke-on-Trent).


The winner of this award delivers consistently excellent customer service. The company will demonstrate its success through sustained effort. The winner will show 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.


Winner: Lothian Buses

Lothian Buses is the UK's largest publicly owned bus company. It operates 670 buses across 50 different routes in Edinburgh and the Lothians. In 2006 Lothian carried 108 million passengers and since 1998 has seen passenger numbers grow by 32% - 4% growth every year. Since 2000, £100million has been spent on low-floor buses giving them one of the youngest fleets in the UK.

The judges observed that Lothian is undoubtedly a very impressive operator, supported by a very impressive entry and very impressive “on-the-ground” performance.

With the reputation of being a traditional company that has always been good at getting the basics right, Lothian has transformed itself in recent years through very substantial investment and well-targeted market development, not least its Airlink, city tour and Edinburgh Shuttle brands, as well as smartcard and other ticketing initiatives.

All of this has been achieved without losing sight of the traditional core values and has led to substantial growth in passenger numbers in the last few years, and excellent financial returns. Lothian shows just what can be delivered in big cities under the current legislative framework.


A double decker bus run by Lothian Buses
A fully-accessible low-floor double decker operated by Lothian Buses


Runner Up: Brighton & Hove Bus & Coach Company Ltd

One of Brighton & Hove's modern fleetA passion for excellence in customer service and the highest priority for health and safety are the foundations for Brighton & Hove’s enduring success.

The company’s partnership with the Council has seen consistent investment in vehicles, improved frequencies, innovation in pricing and marketing, effective traffic and parking management, both vigorously enforced, and real-time information.

The focus on customer service, supported by impressive investment and a meaningful partnership with a supportive local authority, have been the foundations for the sustained growth in passenger numbers and profitability.

Being an integral part of the community, aided by creative marketing like the "I’m on the Bus" campaign, has helped Brighton & Hove achieve top place for public satisfaction with both bus services and transport information among all of the English local authority areas.

Highly Commended

Keighley & District

Whilst perhaps not thought of as a city operator, a very high proportion of Keighley & District Travel’s operation is within the dense and congested West Yorkshire PTE area.

The company has invested more than £2.3m over the last two years and has achieved passenger growth of 5%. The company has informal partnerships with local authorities and makes a substantial investment in staff training and the overall promotion of its bus service network.

Delivering the standards that the industry has come to expect of companies within the Blazefield group, Keighley & District Travel has an impressive record in terms of fleet and operational investment, passenger growth and financial performance. It also makes a substantial investment in developing its staff and the overall promotion of its bus service network. Creative marketing, including the recent Shuttle 662 and "The Zone" initiatives, as well as consistently good customer service returns, all scored well with the judges.

One of Keighley & District's recent new buses

Stagecoach Merseyside

Stagecoach's progress since buying Glenvale in 2005 impressed the judgesSince taking over Glenvale Transport in June 2005, Stagecoach has turned one of the basket cases of the deregulated bus industry into an example of a professional, reliable, modern bus operator, heavily investing in all aspects of the business. The company is proud to have rebuilt the reputation of the business with staff, customers and external stakeholders.

The judges were impressed with just how much had been achieved in Merseyside since Stagecoach bought Glenvale two years ago.

In particular, the progress made in areas like major fleet improvement through investment, employee good practice, operational and engineering performance, risk management, market development and the general relationship with and in the Merseyside community (in particular the "Thumbs Up to Stagecoach" campaign) was a model for other companies.

Transdev London United

London United has traditionally been one of the best performing operators in London. During 2007 the company has significantly improved its performance and operates to a corporate mission "To Be the Best Bus Operator in London". London United aims to provide the best possible service to its passengers by attracting the best people to the business and rewarding their commitment.

London United has traditionally been one of the best performing companies in London, both operationally and financially. Whilst it is difficult to compare London operators with those outside the metropolis, because there is only a small market development role, the judges were impressed with the company’s progress in its six key strategies towards its corporate mission.

In particular, its work in developing its staff, customer service, assessing risk, corporate social responsibility and developing partnerships were felt to set examples to other companies in the industry.

A London United bus outside the Cafe Royal in Regent Street



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