This is the award which benchmarks the performance of bus garages in London, and rewards the best with a cash prize to be used on facilities to benefit the team which delivers the best service on a day-to-day basis.
Winner, Gold Award
Leyton - Stagecoach London
Stagecoach London's Leyton is a busy city garage with 124 vehicles, including 40 New Routemasters, and 2.2m passenger journeys each month. Overall performance has improved greatly over the past few years and now delivers a much more reliable service to our customers. Driving standards have improved, evidenced by the much improved TfL DQM scores and the success of the garage's new Personal Development Champions, and The Loop intranet site which keeps the team to keep up to date and educated. The garage views TfL's Hello London course very positively in assisting drivers to further enhance their customer service skills. The scheme is promoted with drivers before they attend and followed up with each individual afterwards to discuss how they found the course and what they are going to take away from it and put in to practice. The garage believes follow up has been fundamental for drivers to realise that customer service is a very important topic that we are keen to assist them with. There is a popular garage football team which includes drivers, engineers, managers and head office staff. Reflecting its East London location, it is a multi cultural garage and has a driver on the committee of the local Mosque which the garage supports with an annual charity fund raising procession for disabled children. Several local nurseries have visited the garage, and working with the company's head office, Leyton regularly welcome young adults for work experience schemes for school and college students. The garage also works closely with the Waltham Forest Safer Transport Team and maintains a good working relationship with the local Fire Brigade, assisting with its training events and improving its awareness of vehicle designs and major incident planning.
The judges noted that as a big inner London garage, Leyton manages to operate a reliable service in a difficult area with known bottlenecks such as the Blackwall Tunnel. Customer service is also high on the garage's agenda alongside continued staff development. It was also noted that the garage has excellent links with schools and organisations, making it a part of the local community and a worthy Gold Winner.
Winner, Silver Award
Hounslow Heath - RATP Dev London
Staff at Hounslow Heath garage focus their attention on one end goal: improving the customer experience. All employees at the garage, whether it be the general manager, the driver, the engineering chargehand or the person who washes the buses, understands that the customer is at the heart of everything they do. All team members, many of whom have worked at Hounslow Heath for many years, are clear about the contribution they are expected to make towards the garage's success and are accountable for it. Managers are convinced that it is the strong teamwork ethic and personal accountability that are behind the garage's success. RATP Dev's Hounslow Heath is a relatively small garage housing less than 100 vehicles and its high morale and strong 'family' atmosphere in born out in having the lowest staff turnover in the company. The garage works with local beaver and scout groups and well as with local schools promoting public transport.
The judges noted the exceptional commitment to customer care and team spirit at Hounslow Heath, as well as the the work with local schools in prompting travel by bus.
Winner, Bronze Award
Brixton - Arriva London South
Arriva South London's Brixton garage is a large depot housing 150 vehicles. It has implemented several improvements over the past year and ended 2015 without any staff lost mileage. The garage has built on its mileage performance strategies to include enhanced root cause analysis to help prevent breakdowns and improve reliability. Staff engagement and morale has been strengthened with personal development initiatives for supervisors, open forums and newsletters to keep everyone motivated towards targets areas. The garage has invested in new canteen facilities and promoted a Green Wellness healthy eating scheme as part of a programme to modernise the environment which also include a computer room where staff can complete a wide range of training courses. The garage has also begun working with the local community in support of the Lambeth Bus Day, a partnership with local schools and organisations seeking to assist those new to London's growing bus network. To reinforce high standards, the garage has implemented a hall of fame photoboard and staff rewards scheme for high performance.
A number of improvements were noted by the judges in the metrics and were impressed in the upgrades to facilities for staff and the promotion of a recognition and reward scheme.
Palmers Green - Arriva London
Home to a fleet of 70 vehicles, Arriva London's Palmers Green Garage has a vibrant, friendly and diverse workforce that reflects the cosmopolitan city that it serves. Driver's length of service ranges from a matter of days to 44 years, but everyone mixes well and are supportive of each other. The engineering team maintain a close relationship with the route controllers showing commitment to the provision of a regular, reliable and customer focussed bus journey. The management and supervisory team regularly travel on vehicles to identify areas of improvement. A number of initiatives to upskill the staff to meet the needs of the customer have been developed. Staff from the garage are involved in charitable pursuits, including cycling, walking and running events and social events including paint balling, go karting and cycle rides have been organised. Staff have also visited local schools to provide an insight into the life of a bus driver and provide an introduction to the use of public transport.
The judges noted an increase in staff turnover and the introduction of a new management team, which is making good headway with improving the team spirit at the depot and re-introducing social activities.
Putney - Go-Ahead London
The Putney garage is operated by Go-Ahead London and houses just over 100 vehicles. It has a good record in service and driver performance, supported by the improvement on DQM and a reduction in the number of complaints. It is in the top ten best garages for complaints, which has been achieved by having a well trained and engaged team of drivers who understand what is required, and deliver performance on the road in a safe, professional and skilled manner. A lot of work has gone in to engage all staff through more effective and frequent communication, both on a one to one and group level. The garage is big on sharing and celebrating its success as a team and as individuals.
The judges noted the emphasis on driver training and applauded the culture of sharing best practice throughout the garage. Improved communication, in response to suggestions from staff, and a reward scheme are also positive steps forward to improve team morale.
Uxbridge - Metroline West
Metroline Wests' Uxbridge garage houses almost 100 vehicles and pride itself on having a strong teamwork ethos. Drivers, engineers, cleaners, supervisors, managers and administrative staff all work together to continually improve the performance of the garage and they work hard to make sure everyone is involved and feels a part of this special team. The depot feels that this strong sense of unity, cooperation and teamwork helps foster greater communication and involvement, which is ultimately reflected in its performance, customer service levels and safety standards. It is a diverse and multicultural team and has been the best performing team and garage in the company for the last two years running, in having the lowest number of collisions. It is also proud to feature regularly at the top of the TfL league table for Mystery Traveller Surveys (Bus Customer Experience Surveys).
The judges noted the exceptional team spirit in this garage all working toward a shred goal of providing a safe and punctual bus service.
Who could be nominated?
This award was open to garages that operate buses on contract to London Bus Services Ltd. Performance and monitoring data was used by TfL London Buses to compile a shortlist of garages reaching high levels of recorded performance, which includes:
- Driver Quality Monitoring data
- Wheelchair ramp operational audit data
- Customer Satisfaction Survey and Mystery Traveller Survey results
- Lost Mileage
- Quality of Service Indicators
- Engineering standards
- Levels of public comments.
Each short listed garage was then challenged to submit its own assessment of its achievements, emphasising its impact on passenger service, staff well-being and the communities served by reference to specified issues.