Top City Operator

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This is the Award for operators running services wholly or mainly in our major cities.

Winner, Gold Award, - Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company

Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company is proud of thinking and acting 'local', being embedded in the community and being in tune with Brighton and Hove's creative energy and green values. The company takes a lead as much as possible with partners in such a way as to encourage residents to get out of their cars and onto buses. Ninety percent of customers are satisfied with its bus services, according to Transport Focus results despite extensive city centre roadworks. Heavy focus on social media means Facebook followers have risen from 1,800 a year ago to 12,000 this year and 15 minute responses are aimed for compared to three days previously. The company enjoys 5% year on year passenger growth.

The judges praised Brighton & Hove for being very good at providing statistics and KPIs to evidence its entry. They also welcomed numerous initiatives on accessibility, and noted that the operator has also had a LEZ in the middle of the city to deal with.

Winner, Silver Award, - Stagecoach Manchester

Stagecoach Manchester takes pride in its investment in staff, services and local community and its involvement in strong local partnerships. In 2014/15 the company carried 104 million passengers - an increase of 1% on the previous year, and has achieved continuous passenger growth for 14 consecutive years. Stagecoach Manchester operated 99.5% of its scheduled services and punctuality was 98.7% in 2014.

The judges commented that Stagecoach Manchester was the shining star of Stagecoach. The judges were impressed by the company's continued passenger growth and levels of investment, noting that the Hazelgrove Park & Ride scheme, in which the company is heavily investing, is the first of its kind for a UK operator.

Winner, Bronze Award, - Go North East

At the heart of Go North East's (GNE) approach lies rigorous staff training, close partnerships with the public and private sector, extensive marketing and customer research and a passion for innovation. The company also prides itself on its strategic marketing output and consistent independent passenger satisfaction scores, reaching 90% in 2014/15. GNE has steadily driven growth in passenger volumes and satisfaction levels in recent years. Refreshing conventional approaches, and the introduction of new technology in its communications, pricing and delivery of services across the region, have challenged established thinking about the way bus service should be run.

 

Finalist, - National Express West Midlands

National Express West Midlands is proud of transforming its business in the last few years with significant increases in satisfaction, one of Britain's strongest transport partnerships, consistent patronage growth and innovations such as Master Drive which is an accolade for drivers with the best safety records, positive customer feedback and accreditation from the Institute of Advanced Motoring. The company has seen 2% growth on route-branded services and a new bus hit the streets every three days over the past three years and a refurbished bus every two days, helping to increase satisfaction with bus comfort by 6%. New Platinum luxury specificaton buses were introduced on express routes in May 2015 and the company pledged to limit fare rises to below RPI +1%, helping to increase satisfaction with value for money by 12%.

The judges were impressed by the improvements taking place across the company, not least with the upgrades to vehicle quality and felt that the fact that National Express West Midlands called a taxi for people in wheelchairs was worth commending.

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
    • Merseyside
    • 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:
    • Belfast
    • Brighton & Hove
    • Bristol
    • Cardiff
    • Edinburgh
    • Glasgow
    • Kingston-upon-Hull
    • Leicester
    • Nottingham
    • Plymouth
    • Stoke-on-Trent

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:
    • diversity
    • equal opportunities
    • training
    • 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.