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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.

Judges' Verdict

Despite the difficult economic times, the entries demonstrated clearly that creativity within the industry is still alive and well, and, even if some were not truly innovative, there were some interesting ‘variations on a theme’. Whilst there was more variety in the 2013 entries, the judges felt that there was less true innovation. What is innovative for a particular bus company or local authority may well not be such on a wider industry scale.

2013 Winner: uTrack Software Solutions – uTrack and National Express Coach

Keeping track of the coaches with uTrack's softwareOver the last three years, uTrack has revolutionised the National Express coach network with the latest technologies providing real-time monitoring on every service and stop for the entire network. Customers are able to access the same information via a solution called CoachTracker giving them immediate and accurate data. Whilst real-time information of itself is no longer new, this is the first application of it on a nationwide scale and judges were also impressed by the contribution it has made to operational reliability and driver accountability, as well as its obvious benefits to customers.

Runner Up: The Sheffield Bus Partnership

South Yorkshire PTE Joint Entry with Sheffield City Council, First South Yorkshire, Stagecoach in Sheffield and Sheffield Community Transport –

Sheffield Community Transport is one of the partners to the ground-breaking agreement in the cityThe Sheffield Bus Partnership is a ground-breaking agreement bringing together Sheffield City Council, South Yorkshire PTE and the city’s main bus operators to make the network simpler, more flexible and more convenient – with impressive results. Whilst partnerships of this nature do exist elsewhere, the judges considered that, as the first of its size and scale in a PTE area, the Sheffield Bus Partnership is truly innovative and potentially a watershed for the industry. By what it has achieved so far, it presents a superb example of the outcomes that can be obtained through open and committed partnership, a model that can be successfully applied elsewhere.

Highly Commended

Centro – The Safer Travel Command Centre

Centro boss Geoff Inskip (right) and the then Transport Secretary Justine Greening (centre) help launch the centreCentro’s innovative approach to partnership working to make travelling on public transport safer than ever has resulted in a unique way of monitoring the network in the West Midlands. The judges were impressed with how, in a first for the UK, three public sector agencies, Centro, West Midlands Police and British Transport Police, have united to provide an unparalleled service from a centralised base, reassuring public transport passengers about their personal safety and successfully driving down crime year-on-year.

Confederation of Passenger Transport UK – Bus For Us

Former transport minister Norman Baker helps to launch CPT's innovative websiteBus for Us is a new website, aimed at 16 to 25 year olds, providing quick and easy access to information on local bus services in the UK. The site (also accessible by Smartphone and tablet devices) uses Bing Maps and GPS technologies to match potential users to their nearest bus stops and services. BUSFORUS is a true one-stop-shop of information and has the ability to revolutionise the way young people plan bus journeys. As such this innovative initiative, supported by a wide cross-section of the UK bus industry and targeting the bus users of tomorrow, much impressed the judges.

Go-Ahead Group and Williams Hybrid Power – Hybrid Power Flywheel Project

A diagram of the planned systemWilliams Hybrid Power is a clean technology enterprise developing magnetically-loaded composite flywheel energy storage systems that improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions in vehicles. In 2012 the company announced an innovative partnership with the Go-Ahead Group to produce six hybrid buses using this technology. The judges were exceedingly impressed with the principle and looked forward to seeing outputs from buses in scheduled service that confirmed the undoubted potential of this project that had its birth in motor racing.

Greener Journeys – Bus for Jobs

Greener Journeys boss Claire Haigh promotes the new ticketsFollowing on from Greener Journeys widely-acclaimed ‘Buses and Economic Growth’ report, the innovative ‘Bus for Jobs’ scheme enabled more than 52,000 unemployed people across Britain to travel for free by bus throughout January 2013 to access jobs and training. Conceived by an alliance of bus companies, the judges were really impressed by the wide co-operation across the industry that brought about an initiative which received such positive media coverage and wide endorsement across the political spectrum, an excellent example of what can be achieved by positive and meaningful partnership.

Special Commendation: Dennis Noble, First Aberdeen – Bespoke Oil Storage Tank for Bendibuses

Dennis Noble - turning the tables on bendi problems in AbderdeenUntil the company’s Engineering Manager, Denis Noble, came up with his invention, First Aberdeen used a specialist contractor some distance from the depot to maintain the turntable ‘rams’ which help keep a bendy bus aligned. Frustrated by the length of time it was taking to repair the buses off-site, Denis came up with a simple, yet unique, invention that helps keep serviceable the company’s thirty-two articulated buses. His bespoke oil storage tank is saving First Aberdeen around £20,000 per annum. Such has been the success of Denis’ invention, other companies are looking at the design with a view to replicating it elsewhere.

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.

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