Top London Bus Driver 2009

Sponsored by the Luke Rees-Pulley Charitable Trust and TfL

Luke Rees-Pulley in whose memory the charitable trust was foundedLuke Rees-Pulley was passionate about buses throughout his life, which was tragically cut short by murder. The trust founded in his name seeks to rekindle the pride and status of bus drivers in the capital to the levels seen in the 1930s - when to be a bus driver was to be a respected professional providing an essential service. This award is part of that process, recognising and rewarding top-quality service and commitment.

This award is presented to the London bus driver who has best demonstrated excellent performance from the customer perspective in the 12 month period to the end of June 2009. 

All London bus garages are eligible to submit nominations for their best-performing drivers based on: 

  • Mystery Traveller reports
  • Driving Standard Assessment reports
  • Public Commendations
  • Driver Monitoring (Internal) assessments
  • Accident record

If necessary other areas of performance, including discipline and attendance, will be considered.

 

The winner of the Top London Bus Driver prize will be the individual who best represents the customer’s ideal: a driver who is friendly, helpful, conscientious, mindful of passengers’ comfort and wellbeing – in short, a true professional and worthy ambassador for the job

The Winner: Winston Dottin

First London, Willesden Junction Garage

Winston DottinWinston has been an integral part of the London bus industry for over 38 years. Starting in 1971 his career, as conductor then driver, has taken him from Stamford Hill to Putney to Westbourne Park and latterly to Willesden Junction depots. He recently received his safe driving award covering 33 of his years.

Winston’s ambition is to build bridges between the transport industry and the community. In 2008, he organised the first Service of Thanksgiving for all Transport Workers at St Clement Danes in the heart of London, now planned to be an annual event.  The service provided a non-political, multi-faith, creed and colour platform for staff from all walks of life to celebrate the contribution workers from across the UK and many parts of the world have made to London's public transport services. He also works for the Notting Hill Carnival as a co-ordinator and band leader.

Says his boss David Fielding, “Winston's nomination does not just stem from his excellent driving history or exemplary attendance record, but from his selfless and inspirational work for and with the community. His dedication and drive is infectious and I believe he is a true hero who is making a difference.”

The judges were very impressed indeed by Winston’s dedication to the job and his passion in promoting the job and the industry in the wider community. 

Joint Runners Up

Grantley Best, Arriva London, Norwood Garage

Grantley BestGrantley has been working in the bus industry in London for 48 years, 38 of them as a driver with excellent driving and attendance records. Earlier this year, he figured prominently in the centenary celebrations for Norwood Garage, being interviewed and photographed for both company and external publications.

Says his boss K C Robinson, “Grantley is recognised by his colleagues as a most professional and courteous man. During our centenary celebrations he acted as a first class ambassador for the company.”

Kevin West, Transdev London, Hounslow Garage

Kevin WestKevin has been a bus driver for 15 years, seven of them at Transdev. He works on Route 203 which runs between Hounslow and Ashford Hospital. His passengers range from staff at Heathrow to patients at Ashford Hospital. His excellent driving record and strong defensive driving skills have recently led to him being promoted to Garage Driver Trainer

Says Transdev’s Steffan Evans, “Whether helping people locate lost staff passes or giving extra time to disabled passengers, Kevin always gives that little bit more. A smooth and consistent driver, he controls his vehicle perfectly, always thinking ahead. He lowers the suspension at every stop and waits for passengers to be seated. He is a shining example of how the job should be done.”

On 2 February,during the heaviest snowfall in 18 years, Kevin walked in to work in his uniform. On the way, he took time to explain to members of the public that there would be no service that day. 

 

Highly Commended

Harjinder Banbheru, First London, Uxbridge Garage

Harjinder BanbheruHarjinder joined the bus industry in London as a driver in Uxbridge in 1990, and has an exceptional driving record.  During the last 19 years he has consistently proved his skills via both internal and external driving assessments. He has NEVER had an accident whether at fault or as the result of another road users’ actions, and has never received any kind of negative score under TfL’s mystery traveller programme.

Says his boss at First London, David Fielding, “He is the kind of driver every Manager wants, as his conscientious approach to driving is mirrored in the way he presents himself to his passengers who are in VERY safe hands.”

Comfort Nkrumah, First London, Westbourne Park Garage

Comfort NkrumahComfort Nkrumah has been driving for First London for five years. As well as being an excellent Driver, Comfort knows the value of excellent customer service. Having an umblemished driving history backed up by independent assessment is one thing but she also has the thoughts and needs of her passengers in mind. She was recently commended by a member of the public who she helped to reunite with 2 violins that they had left on another bus. Comfort provided reassurance that she would do all she could to get the instruments back to their rightful owner. Contacting the depot she helped trace the bus with the instruments and arrange their return to the depot. She relayed this information to the passenger and even arranged to take the passenger back to the depot, where the 2 violins were waiting for him.

Her boss David Fielding commented, “The fact that Comfort took these steps is no surprise to me as it’s the kind of thing that she wouldn’t think twice about doing. She is a consummate professional.”

Comfort’s work earned her a nomination in FirstGroup’s Superstars programme, and she won the April 2009 Superstars Award.

Hilbert Williams from CT Plus at Ash GroveHilbert Williams, CT Plus

Hilbert has held a PCV driving licence since February 2003 and has worked for CT Plus since January 2004. He has an excellent attendance and driving record, and a testament to his professional skills are the three Grade 1 marks he has received from the Driving Standards Authority (DSA) in assessments commissioned by CT Plus.

He regularly receives compliments from customers and scores well in mystery traveller assessments. Says his boss George Mutch, "Hilbert is an excellent employee respected by both his work colleagues and public alike with his friendly personality. He represents the company with pride and honour."

 

Bob Wiltshire, Go-Ahead London, Bexleyheath Garage

Bob WiltshireBob Wiltshire has been working in the bus industry for 39 years. As well as driving duties, Bob works with the local safer transport teams to take safety on buses to ail local secondary schools and some primary schools. He has a natural rappport with people and is able to work with all ages of the children to put on a mobile roadshow of behaviour expected when travelling on public transport. He has been commended by the safer transport team for the role he plays and they have stated that he is able to get the message across to all the children in an entertaining but informative way. He has hosted visits to the garage by local primary schools and these have had a positive effect on the children.

Says his boss Karl Blair, “Bob is a hardworking, conscientious,  efficient, entertaining and knowiedgable man - willing to do all that is asked of him and more.” Karl reports that Boib’s work with the safer transport team has led to improvements in behaviour. “Levels of vandalism have fallen drasticaily at Bexleyheath Garage. Etching and graffiti is also down, because the children and young people have been given an education into the implications of their behaviour.”

Stephen Winfield, Go Ahead London, New Cross Garage

Stephen WinfieldSteve joined London Transport as a conductor 23 years ago, in April 1986, and has been driving since November 1987.

He has never received a staff complaint against him and has one of the best scores achieved by Go-Ahead’s on-bus driver monitoring system. This supports his overall record of being one of the garage's best performing drivers with an exemplary disciplinary and attendance record.

Says his boss T G Johnson, “Steve is known for being prepared to assist his colleagues, road officials and most importantly his passengers. There is nothing that is too much effort for him. He’s a dedicated professional.”

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