City Operator 2008

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The award for operators running services wholly or mainly in our major cities.

Winners: Transdev Keighley & District

A local bus in Transdev Keighley & District's livery for town servicesTransdev Keighley & District remains a hugely impressive company, with market development and customer relations among the very best. It provides a high quality operation with good passenger revenue and profit growth, and has achieved high levels of customer satisfaction. Further investment and strong marketing activity has grown passenger numbers significantly on targeted primary services.

The judges were also very impressed with the company’s management style and culture, and investment in its own staff with the Blazefield 21 initiative (its own Vocational Qualification), as well as requiring drivers to take the Institute of Advanced Motorists test, both of which have helped ensure a stable and well-motivated workforce.

Runners Up: Lothian Buses plc

A Lothian bus on the successful Airport serviceLothian Buses, formed in 1986, operates a fleet of 680 buses over 50 urban routes in and around Edinburgh. Carrying in excess of 2.2m passengers per week, the company offers value for money fares on our reliable, modern buses. As well as local bus routes, Lothian also operates the Airlink service between the city centre and Edinburgh Airport, Night Buses, Edinburgh Bus Tours and Edinburgh Shuttle.

Despite recent operational constraints caused by construction of the tramway, Lothian has continued to innovate, concentrating on traditional core values. This has meant that passenger numbers have now increased by over 40% in the last ten years.

Nearly one-third of the buses have been replaced in the last three years, giving Lothian one of the youngest fleets in the UK. The quality of the operation, the impressive growth, and excellent financial returns all show just what can be achieved in a big city under current legislative framework. The judges were particularly impressed by Lothian’s continued market development, customer relations methods, as well as the reduction in accidents and assaults.

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

Criteria and Entry Requirements

The short-list was determined on the basis of the quality of the submissions, which needed 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.

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