This is the Award for operators running services wholly or mainly in our major cities.
The 2014 Results
Gold Award Winner
Nottingham City Transport
NCT's investment in bus services across Nottingham continues to pay dividends. Operating 345 vehicles from three depots, with 830 drivers, NCT has achieved high passenger satisfaction at 95%, with revenue growth up 3% and commercial patronage up 4% in the last year. A £17m investment in 73 new buses in two years has increased capacity on core routes, through bigger buses and frequency enhancements. Noting growth in passenger numbers and revenue has continued for the 13th consecutive year despite major road works, increased local bus competition and no longer operating the tram franchise, the judges were particularly impressed by NCT's substantial investment in upgrading and improving commercial services and the recent Grade 1 OFSTED inspection rating for staff training.
Silver Award Winner
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'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.
Go North East
Go North East (GNE) has continued to invest, innovate and grow its business despite the challenging economic climate of the north east and political sensitivities, operating a fleet of nearly 700 vehicles from 10 depots, with more than 2,100 employees. New technology in communications, pricing and delivery of services, has allowed the company to refine the commercial initiatives for which it already had an enviable reputation. GNE's industry-leading, fully-responsive website, usable on all types of device, particularly appealed to the judges. A 90% passenger satisfaction score in the latest Passenger Focus survey and improvements in areas such as value for money, passenger wait time and punctuality also demonstrated its commitment to top-class customer service.
National Express West Midlands
NXWM has raised its service offer and improved customer experience with commercial, environmental and other initiatives such as the innovative 'Transforming Bus Travel' partnership with Centro and its Master Driver training accredited by the Institute of Advanced Motoring. Operating more than 1,700 vehicles from 10 depots across the West Midlands, the company of more than 5,500 staff impressed the judges with its progress and initiatives, which have led to improvements of 7% in punctuality and an 8% in passenger satisfaction. NXWM has also seen 2% passenger increase on commercial services and 5% where network reviews have taken place.
Stagecoach North East
Stagecoach North East's commitment to high operational standards is reflected in its customer satisfaction scores, despite operating in one of the most challenging economic climates in the UK, recent political pressures and resulting public relations issues. Employing more than 1400 staff, the company operates across Hartlepool, Newcastle, South Shields, Sunderland and Teesside. Stagecoach's emphasis on commercial initiatives including its innovative 'Back on Board' initiative for job seekers and 'VIP' schemes for young people particularly appealed to the judges, as did a strong environmental record from new gas buses and depot processes, and its training and development regime.
Who could be nominated?
This Award is open to operators of registered local bus services based in, or operating wholly or mainly in:
- The PTE areas:
- Greater Manchester
- Tyne and Wear
- South Yorkshire
- West Yorkshire
- West Midlands
- Greater London
- Other major cities with populations of over 250,000, with density greater than 15,000 per hectare. These are:
- Brighton & Hove
Criteria and Entry Requirements
The results were determined on the basis of the quality of the submissions, which need to:
- Show how the operator maintains and improves customer relations. For example how it uses:
- customer satisfaction surveys
- suggestion and complaint handling procedures
- customer newsletters
- State whether it has policies for specific customer groups, for example recognising disability and diversity
- State whether the company resolved any issues by reference to the Bus Appeals Body within the last three years prior to entry. The issues and the outcome need to be described
- Provide evidence of the company’s employee relations policies, including:
- equal opportunities
- employee development programmes.
- Provide statistics on timekeeping and lost mileage
- State any Traffic Commissioners’ action in the three years prior to entry and describe the company’s responses
- Provide information to demonstrate the financial sustainability of their activities. This could come, for example, from the most recent audited accounts for the two years prior to nomination and include:
- Capital investment: amount per £1,000 turnover; changes in fleet age profile
- Commercial performance: % operating profit margin
- Movement in reserves.
- Demonstrate the company’s approach to risk assessment in all its activities including:
- a commentary on Health and Safety issues for the past year, supported by reports on any significant incidents,
- showing how the company assesses the impact of its activities on staff, passengers and the general public and has monitoring and control measures to reduce risk and the level of the residual risks.
- Describe the operator’s approach to environmental matters and social responsibility.
- Submit evidence on matters such as any partnership working, describe how the company responds to the policies of its local transport authority and how it fosters and contributes to the life of the communities it serves.
- Show how the operator contributes to sustaining and expanding the market for public transport in their area, including joint working with local authorities and integration schemes. This should be supported by statistics to confirm patronage and revenue trends, and statistical evidence of modal shift.
Shortlisted entries will be assessed by “mystery travellers” to monitor the standard of service delivery.