Top London Bus Driver sponsored by Luke Rees-Pulley Charitable Trust and TfL
Winner, Gold Award, Anthony Banks-Walker - RATP Dev London
The perfect London bus driver may well be encapsulated in Anthony Banks-Walker, enthuses his employer RATP Dev London. Smartly dressed, courteous, knowledgeable about London and possessing great driving skills, Anthony is a credit to his garage. He has only been a bus driver for 18 months and yet he regularly attracts customer commendations praising a faultless journey experience. Anthony doesn't just exhibit Hello London values, he lives them, and in doing so endears himself to all who step aboard his bus. If you're lost in Anthony's area of London, you're in safe hands as he has driven most routes running out of Fulwell garage and has tried to memorise most of the main streets. He usually has an A-Z in his cab, as a back-up. Anthony has good knowledge of the whole public transport system in London so he can usually give travel advice to people who need to make their onward journey on the Underground. As well as getting on well with his customers, Anthony also enjoys a great relationship with supervisors, the service control team and his driver colleagues.
Winner, Silver Award, David Harris - Arriva London
When joining Arriva London at the end of 2016, David Harris immediately stood out from the crowd with his pleasant and friendly demeanour. His smile was instantly noticeable and can only be described as contagious, having an effect on everyone he meets. It was clear from the start that David was destined for great things, which has subsequently been shown in the plethora of commendations that he has received in a very short period since his appointment.
Winner, Bronze Award, Christine Watkins - Arriva London
Christine Watkins will shortly complete 20 years service with Arriva London as a bus driver. Throughout her career, Christine's approach to the job has been exemplary. In carrying out her duties, her helpfulness and beaming smile says everything about her determination to deliver good customer service. Christine has received countless commendations from members of the public praising the way she has done her job. Likewise she is a very popular figure amongst her work colleagues. Adults remember travelling on her bus when they went to school. Always ready to go the extra mile to deliver excellent customer service she leads by example. Christine is the ultimate ambassador for Arriva, TfL and the whole bus industry when it comes to dealing with the public.
Specially Commended, Decosta Skyers - Go-Ahead London
In July, a member of public notified Go-Ahead London bus driver Decosta Skyers of a serious incident taking place on the upper deck of his bus involving a young child. Decosta pulled the bus over to a safe place and went to investigate. On getting to the top of the stairs he could see two elderly members of the public trying to restrain a male passenger who was trying to leave the bus. Decosta was made aware that the male had interfered with a child who was sitting beside him. The driver immediately returned to his cab and called a code red for assistance. Whilst doing this, the male got away from the passengers and tried to let himself off the bus and escape through the emergency exit. Decosta, without care for his own safety, forced the male back on to the bus and stood guard with members of the public until police assistance arrived and handcuffed the male and took him into custody.
Finalist, Jim Hart - Abellio London
Abellio London bus driver Jim Hart is described as a truly superb driver that takes real pride in his job, always going the extra mile for his customers and consistently delivering a great drive. A regular driver on route 156, Jim has also become the 156 Route Champion, providing the vital bridge between the drivers on the route and the depot management team, so that issues and concerns can be passed on and messages can go out to the drivers. Abellio is thrilled that he chose to be a driver with the company and consider him a real star in its team.
Finalist, Dean Golding - Go-Ahead London
Go-Ahead London bus driver Dean Golding is a valued member of staff who provides continually outstanding customer service. He has received 10 customer commendations in the last 12 months, and has many more to his name from previous years. Dean has a willingness to go above and beyond in the name of customer service. He has been commended for everything from helping make sure a young child got home safely, to the simple act of greeting every customer with a smile. Other commendations have been for showing patience when waiting for elderly or less abled passengers to reach the bus, even moving the bus to get closer to them to save them struggling or trying to rush. Dean is an approachable family man who takes satisfaction from providing the best service he can and treating people how he would expect to be treated himself. He also takes pride in the job he does and is always willing to assist his colleagues if he can.
Finalist, Natasha Smith - Go-Ahead London
It is clear that Natasha Smith absolutely loves being a bus driver at Go-Ahead London and has proved this with 100% attendance and punctuality. Natasha joined the company just over two years ago and has made a massive impact on the buses by managing to clock up 19 commendations, including one from a controller and a mystery traveller - a huge achievement. Natasha has excellent customer service skills and says that the secret to her success 'is service with a smile' as she greets her passengers as they board the bus. She is complimented throughout the day by her passengers as they appreciate seeing such a welcoming face as they board the bus. Go-Ahead London is very proud of Natasha and she has given presentations about her success at the garage. When the Mayor of London visited the garage, she was an obvious selection to meet him and represent the company. In a very short time Natasha has demonstrated that she is a top London bus driver.
Finalist, Patrick Lawson - CT Plus
In the 17 months since Patrick Lawson joined CT Plus as a bus driver, he has received an extraordinary 66 commendations from the travelling public, more than all of his colleagues across the Ash Grove depot put together. Whilst many of Patrick's commendations are based on the warmth of his basic customer service, many others reflect the whole range of values, skills and approaches that exemplify the best London bus drivers. Patrick's approach to the profession of bus driving is genuinely outstanding, going the extra mile comes as standard, every single day. CT Plus is genuinely proud of what Patrick has achieved.
Finalist, Leighton Shannon - Uno Bus
Uno Bus driver Leighton Shannon makes a difference to people's days, and what a great achievement that is! He receives regular commendations from customers praising his positivity and helpfulness. He always scores top marks in TfL mystery traveller reports and the consistency he shows in his exceptional attitude towards his customers and colleagues is what makes Leighton quite unique. Leighton has an impeccable incident record, always driving with care and attention, and is also very mindful of customers who may have mobility issues, helping them on and off with their shopping, and taking time to make sure they are sat down before setting off. Having someone like Leighton drive a key route in the community can really help breakdown barriers that many elderly, or less able passengers, fear. People like Leighton are key in promoting social inclusion within communities and Uno is very proud of him and his achievements.