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.
The 2014 Results
Gold Award Winner
Milton Keynes Electric Bus Project, Arriva Shires & Essex
Following replacement of seven diesel buses with eight fully electric buses on its route 7 in Milton Keynes, Arriva prides its five-year trial on the innovation of wireless charging. Charging plates set in the road mean the prototype vehicles are in service seven days a week, for up to 17 hours a day. Arriva also values the innovative approach of collaboration with partners, including the University of Cambridge who will undertake analysis of batteries data, charging points, feedback from drivers, customers, engineers and the local authority to assess success. The judges agreed this is a truly innovative project with huge potential.
Silver Award Winner
Delivering a Cash-free Bus Network in London, Transport for London
TfL is leading the way in removing cash from the bus network. Cash ceased being collected by drivers from July 2014, on the basis that 99% of bus users already use pre-paid Oyster cards, on-the-day contactless bankcard payments or concessionary passes. A series of safeguards were rolled out to make the transition as simple, seamless and straightforward as possible, including a 'one more journey' feature on Oyster a month in advance. The judges recognised the advantages that cashless ticketing could bring. The industry was likely to move in this direction but it was important it should do so in a way that does not deter people from travelling.
Bronze Award Winner
First's Better Journey Card, First West of England
FirstGroup has developed an innovative Better Journey Card to give people with disabilities a way of communicating their needs to drivers easily and discreetly - from help finding a seat to advice on how best to communicate with them. The cards are a result of extensive consultation with disability groups and frontline staff training, and anecdotal evidence suggests they have helped reduce anxiety felt by disabled bus users and increased confidence that their needs will be met. The idea has been rolled out to other operators and adopted by the CPT through its 'Journey Assistance Card'. The judges felt this to be an exceptionally useful exercise, which helps to reduce social exclusion.
Transport for Edinburgh Official Ticket App, with m-ticketing, Lothian Buses
Lothian Buses has produced a feature-rich app which collects, simplifies and personalises key service information and enables mobile ticketing for its bus services. Updated to include tram services under the umbrella of Transport for Edinburgh, the TfE app provides real-time information, dynamic journey planning, next stop alerts and tap-to-speak assistive technology. The app was Scotland's first public transport m-ticketing platform and offers a comprehensive range of ticket types. The functionality of this app appealed to the judges who noted its success in a relatively short space of time - used by an average of around 10,000 users a day in just over six months.
Mobile Tickets for Buses, Barclays Bank
Recognising the mass-market penetration of smartphones in the marketplace, Barclays launched a pioneering application which allows customers to select, purchase, download and display bus tickets directly via their phone. The app combines innovative ticketing technology developed by the company's partner Corethree with Barclays Pingit, the mobile payment app from Barclays, available to smartphone users. Current services cover areas including Cardiff, Bath, Birmingham, Manchester, Burnley, Blackburn and Lancashire, and this is due to extend to most UK towns and cities by 2015. Another positive development in mobile ticketing, the judges felt this product had significant potential for growth.
Stagecoach's megabusGold.com service, launched in July 2013, uses bespoke vehicles with seats converting into lie-flat beds, to provide customers with a new travel option: luxury daytime coach travel and overnight sleepercoach services. Within four months of being introduced, services were operating at more than 80% capacity and following a customer feedback survey, 34% said they previously travelled by train and 24% by plane. The product has also received high profile media coverage. The judges were impressed with megabusGold as an interesting and logical development of the original megabus concept and recognised the level of innovation and investment.
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:
- 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.