Top London Bus Driver

Luke Rees-Pulley in whose memory the charitable trust was foundedSponsored by the Luke Rees-Pulley Charitable Trust and Transport for London

Luke 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 2013. 


2013 Winner: Steve Riches (Go-Ahead London, Merton)

Steve Riches who drives from Merton in south LondonSteve excels at providing a great service for all that board his bus. Through his mentor role, Steve has ensured a legacy of excellent driving and customer care. He has developed new probationers, as well as re-training existing drivers returning from long term sick/needing a refresher. Over the years Steve has trained many drivers during his time at Merton, always looking for them to achieve high standards. An example of this is Stephen Appiah, Go-Ahead London Driver of the Year for the last two years running) and Runner Up for this very award in the past.

Steve has taken the driver-mentor role to a new and higher level, not only with his own driving skills but also in his approach to helping with projects such as the travel mentor scheme and the cycle aware initiative. His most recent achievement is that of becoming qualified to carry out BTEC driving assessments. He is simply 'Mr Driving' at Merton and his nickname 'Number One' speaks volumes!

Joint Runners Up

Jason Bond (Abellio London, Battersea)

Jason Bond from AbellioJason is passionate about the job, his company and delivering excellent customer service; he is also keen to help improve the business and ways in which drivers can serve customers better.

He is a great ambassador for his company and recently represented it on a photo shoot for a TfL film. Jason has been involved in a number of workshops with TfL as well as roadshows at his depot and was volunteered by Abellio to take part in TfL's brand new driver training film on disability awareness. He has been appointed as a depot communications champion, passing on important messages to other drivers. Being such an excellent communicator, Jason is an invaluable part of his garage team.

Leslie Peacock (Metroline, Holloway)

Leslie Peacock wo drives in north LondonLeslie has received numerous commendations for his politeness and professionalism. He recently received an award for his excellent customer care towards a wheelchair user and was reported in the Islington Tribune for his superb customer care.

He has an excellent service record and maintains a very high standard of safe and smooth driving which is reflected in Metroline's onboard Drive Assist GPS measuring system scores. Leslie really understands what it means to put passengers first, getting them to their destination safely, on time and preferably with a smile on their face. Outside work, Leslie and his wife also raise money for various charities by running half marathons.

Highly Commended

John Anderson (Quality Line, Epsom)

John Anderson with his busJohn has been nominated for exceptional service over such a long period that he has become a friend of regular passengers, many of whom are elderly, and his interaction with them is like old friends getting together each day.

The perfect bus driver in so many ways, John has chosen to operate on one route in a relatively rural part of London and has established a customer rapport that is second to none, creating the   '404 Club'.  On a relatively short route the operation could become repetitive after 11 years but John enjoys his job and passengers enjoy the excellent communication and service reliability that John and his colleagues provide on what is effectively a 'community bus'.

Pat Connolly (Go-Ahead London, Sutton)

Pat who works for Go-Ahead London in SuttonPat is particularly known for helping and assisting his colleagues, whether it is giving help and advice to new entrants, assisting with covering bus driving or mentor duties at short notice, helping the Accident Prevention Team with new ideas and initiatives to help reduce the number of accidents at the garage or assisting the controllers by informing them of any incidents or delays on the road.

Pat is utterly reliable as well as being very approachable, helpful and loyal: he even carries out some of his duties in his own time on occasion so as to further assist the management and supervisory staff. Although Pat has received numerous public commendations there has never been a public or staff complaint about the manner in which he carries out his duties. Pat has also successfully gained an Institute of Advanced Motorists qualification to enhance his standing as a garage mentor and was awarded a Grade 1 Driving report three years ago for which he was commended.

Ian Holmes (London United, Fulwell)

Ian Holmes, who works in the west of LondonWhen a commendation is received at Fulwell, there’s a good chance that it’s for Ian Holmes. Customers love traveling on his bus and they don’t hesitate to say so. While Ian’s winning ways endear him to customers, he’s also a great driver.

Ian offers a cheerful greeting to passengers boarding his bus with a friendly caution to any standing passengers to ‘hold tight’ before moving off and a personal announcement at every stop. He enjoys the teamwork aspect of his job, too: he takes performance seriously and is one of a group of drivers who work together to ensure provision of a quality service on Route 131.

Thomas McDonnell (Arriva London, Tottenham)

Thomas McDonnell from Arriva's Tottenham GarageWith his many years of service Thomas has an exemplary attendance record and is always considerate and hard-working, He sets a fine example for new recruits to aspire to and is supportive to his peers, making him an invaluable member of the team at Tottenham Garage. He is commended for his eagerness to assist the service controlling team and Thomas will do everything he can to help ensure that services run efficiently with his regular traffic updates and his willingness to go that extra mile.

His management team commented that Thomas is an extremely dependable and reliable driver with an excellent attitude - always communicative and helpful. 'He is truly a real pleasure to work with, a team player who makes our job more enjoyable.'

Andrew Samuel (Go-Ahead London, Peckham)

Also south of the river, Andrew Samuels drives from PeckhamAndrew Samuel is the epitome of the professional Bus Driver: he has an in depth knowledge of the routes he operates and customers are his priority; he is very mindful of their comfort and needs and will always offer help when needed. Andrew  leads with his role of Garage Mentor, assisting  new recruits with garage induction, route learning, garage procedures, and giving the new recruits the benefits of his general knowledge and experience. He has taken to being the Mentor role with conscientious and complete efficiency.

Driver Samuel has received a DSA Code 1 Assessment, two Public Commendations and maintains an excellent disciplinary and attendance record. In short, Driver Samuel is a true ambassador for not only Go•Ahead London but also the whole bus industry.

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 TEG logoThe UK Bus Awards scheme is organised by The Bus Industry Awards Limited, a company registered in England & Wales No 3332837.

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