The Innovation Award 2010

Sponsored by

UK vehicle manufacturer Alexander Dennis sponsors this award

This is the category which recognises and rewards new thinking in the industry - amongst operators, authorities and suppliers. It focuses especially on products which can reduce improve efficiency or make bus travel more attractive.

A successful nomination for this award needs to demonstrate development of an original or novel idea that achieves one or more of the following:

  • improves the image of the bus
  • stimulates interest in, or desire for, the bus product
  • improves the efficiency of the industry

This award will be made for an innovation which, in the opinion of the judges, most contributes to the improvement of the bus product. Evidence of quantification of the benefits achieved is essential.

Quick and fast - ticket buying with a contactless credit/debit cardWinners: Stagecoach Merseyside

Contactless Card Payment Pilot on Stagecoach Merseyside Buses

Stagecoach has become the first public transport operator in the world* to use internationally branded contactless debit/credit card to make on bus payment for travel on its fleet of 200 buses in Merseyside.

The technology deployed is a world first and has taken two years and some £800,000 to develop and implement. All the passenger needs to do is ask the driver for a bus fare and simply ‘tap and go’ by tapping their card on the contactless card reader which allows the money for the bus fare to be automatically debited from the cardholders account without the need for PIN numbers or signing. The transaction is transferred overnight from the on bus equipment into the banking system and is settled in the same way as any normal debit/credit card transaction.

Whilst the project is still in the pre roll out stage the judges felt that it thoroughly deserved first place.

* - In this context. “first in the world” means the first use of open (i.e. internationally branded and not limited to cards from specific issuers) contactless EMV payment of bus fares.

Stylish web pages associated with Arriva's Mobile Phone ticketing offerRunners Up: Arriva plc UK Bus

Bus Tickets 2 ur mobile

This a revolutionary mobile ticketing purchasing system, which allows customers to purchase bus, tickets on their mobile phone.

Customers are now able to choose when they buy their ticket whether at work, home or the bus stop. The service is completely free, secure and easy to use. With faster boarding, reduced cash handling and the opportunity to provide customers with unique discounts are all added benefits.
With a large and broad media coverage supporting the launch in November 2009 was followed up by a dedicated marketing campaign impressive results have been achieved, including:

- 17,000 registrations
- Approx 275,000 trips
- 13,000 tickets, £215k
- 6% of all off-bus 4-Weekly Saver tickets now sold as an m-ticket

Not resting on its laurels Arriva has already started to look at the next generation of mobile ticket types to ensure the company remains at the forefront of the bus industry with regard to developing ticket options for customers.

Highly Commended

"Operation Invariance", National Express and partners

Hi-tech crime prevention demonstrated by West Midlands PoliceWest Midlands ‘Safer Travel Partnership’ is using industry pioneering technology to combat bus crime.

Hi tech CCTV transmitters on National Express buses can beam live images to nearby police cars allowing officers to observe activities onboard via handheld screens.

This innovative scheme has sent bus crime plummeting in the region and has been showcased on national TV and regional media. The judges felt this was an excellent example of he bus industry working with other organisations to improve passenger safety and comfort.

Mobile Travel Centre, Nottingham City Transport

NCT's popular mobile travel centreThe mobile travel centre a converted time served midi-bus, is the innovative way Nottingham City Transport serves its wider community. Like a mobile Library the Mobile Travel Centre calls at nine destinations every fortnight between 09:30 and 16:00. Visiting town centres, hospitals and local employers to provide bus information and journey planning advice together with top-ups and issues of smart cards. The centre has already served 14000 customers in its first year.


Route 36 iPhone App, Transdev Blazefield

A screen showing the Route 36 iPhone AppRoute 36 gained enormous notoriety way back in 2004 following the introduction of leather seated vehicles. Since then the company has remained keen to embrace new products and new technology to encourage new users and make travelling more attractive to existing customers.

Developing an iPhone App has enabled customers to get information in a totally new way straight to their phone, the first UK bus operator to do so.

The 36 App is free to download, it locates a customer’s current location, then indicates the nearest Route 36 stop and provides real time information specific to that stop.

Specially Commended: Great North Bus Challenge, Durham - Lesotho Link

The judges felt that the scheme by Durham-Lesotho Link the Great North Bus Challenge worthy of a Special Commendation.

The Great North Bus Challenge is a new environmentally-friendly form of charity fundraising encouraging older people to use their concessionary travel pass to travel round the north east region. The oldest participant this year was aged 94. In the last two years the scheme has raised £5000 for charity.

Judges’ Overall Verdict

The judges were delighted to see another bumper crop of entries in this category, covering wide and varied projects. In some cases there is a need to stop and think is this really innovation; but that said it is pleasing to note that the industry continues to find ways continually to improve its products and systems.

This year demonstrates a marked difference in the quality of the entries, with the winners and runners up schemes well ahead of many of the other submissions.

Who could be nominated?

This category was open to industry suppliers, operators and authorities either separately or in conjunction with one another.

… and by whom?

Nominations were welcomed from all eligible organisations, and self-nomination was acceptable.

Criteria and Entry Requirements

Entries were judged on the basis of the quality of the submissions, which needed to:

  • Provide a full description of the innovation, describing how it works and how it was introduced.
  • Explain how has it made a difference
  • Supply evidence of the overall trend(s) affected by the innovation, as appropriate, in:
    • patronage/revenue
    • customer satisfaction
    • cost and efficiency levels
  • State whether the results are likely to be sustainable
  • Describe any future plans for further development.
  • Include any relevant supporting material.
  • Describe the impact of the scheme on the accessibility of the bus product for people with mobility difficulties
  • Describe how the impact of the innovation was measured.
  • Describe how were staff informed and trained and the impact, if any, the innovation has had on their jobs
  • State whether any partners were involved and, if so, describe their roles
  • Describe the mechanisms put in place for public consultation (where appropriate) and for comment and feedback.

Entries needed to address each of the above criteria to assist with the judging process.

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