Sponsored 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 2014.
The 2014 Results
Gold Award Winner
Natasha Lambert - Merton, The Go-Ahead Group plc
Natasha is valued as a "brilliant", "flexible" and "level-headed" asset to Go-Ahead's Merton depot where she has been driving for 13 years. While she has impressed customers with her welcoming smile, skilful driving and her ability to calm an irate passenger over delays beyond her control, she has earned a reputation for going out of her way to help her colleagues - mentoring new drivers and providing advice to experienced ones and assisting supervisors with staff cover. She has been invaluable in coming up with new initiatives and ideas to assist Merton's Accident Prevention Team and with her Institute of Advanced Motoring qualification, she sets a standard for careful and considerate driving that is appreciated by customers. Natasha deserves recognition for her hard work and the judges felt that her attitude to the job was exceptional.
Joint Silver Award Winner
Mohammed Shabir - Ash Grove, CT Plus
Mohammed is considered a shining example of the idea that excellence in the bus industry combines the best of driving with the best of face-to-face customer care. His managers have received more letters of commendation from the public than any other driver and praise on social media forum in Walthamstow where he drives on Route W12 for CT Plus. This reinforced by top-score mystery driving assessments and Telematics data shows consistent excellence, nearing 99% over the year with almost no instances of harsh braking or acceleration. In providing a safe and comfortable journey for passengers Mohammed also helps to reduce the carbon footprint in line CT Plus' values as a social enterprise. His excellent all-round performance impressed the judges.
Joint Silver Award Winner
Richard Emerton - Fulwell, London United Busways Ltd
Richard's love of bus driving, his outstanding approach to the job and first-class driving skills have not gone unnoticed by his managers. Equipped with 10 years' bus driving experience, he relishes the positive contribution he makes to keeping London on the move and in passing on his skills to new recruits. Visitors and tourists find him a mine of information about the capital and its public transport network and he is particularly sensitive to the needs of less mobile customers, doing whatever he can to ensure they feel welcome. He is also extremely supportive of TfL's measures to boost reliability, valuing small measures such as maintaining headway as important as the larger initiatives, and it was clear to the judges he fulfils his role to a high standard.
Alex Burrows - Bexleyheath, The Go-Ahead Group plc
With 12 years' experience of driving for Go-Ahead London, Alex understands the importance of exceptional customer service in operating a local bus service. Driving the 486 route which serves Bexleyheath and North Greenwich, he is kind and helpful towards passengers and makes full use of the on-bus PA system to update on delays and route information, always encouraging new drivers to feel confident at passing on important messages in the same way. His previous experience as a police officer in the Royal Parks equips him to deal with all types of situations professionally and the safety of his passengers is a top priority for him. The judges admired his commitment and dedication to enhance the role of the professional bus driver - exactly the intention of this award.
Chola Mitchell - Croydon, Metrobus
Chola's confident bubbly personality shone out from the moment she started working for Metrobus' Croydon depot in July 2012. The 119 route she works on links Croydon and Bromley and attracts a high turnover of passengers, yet she has still made her mark on passengers who have taken the trouble to commend her consideration for their needs, her politeness and driving standards after meeting her only once. Popular with her colleagues and showing a real interest in being able to help everyone, Chola has scored Grade 1s in all three in-house assessments, attracting comments for her good customer service and her welcoming approach to boarding passengers. The judges noted she takes good care of older customers and felt her positive outlook to the job was inspirational to others.
Damien Nota - Battersea, Abellio London &Surrey
Loved by his customers, Damien puts his personality, charm and joy for the job into every journey he makes. After spending most of his 13 years in the industry in Yorkshire, he joined Abellio's Battersea depot earlier this year and in only five months, he has received 13 accolades from colleagues and customers - one describing him as "the happiest bus driver I've ever met" and worthy of a medal. His manager has said if Abellio could bottle Damien's approach, attitude, energy and enthusiasm, it would. The judges noted that Damien has already won an Abellio Excellence Gold Tie and were pleased he is now a new driver mentor, helping to introduce new recruits to the Abellio way and passing on his wisdom and approach.
Andrew Phillip - Battersea, Abellio London & Surrey
Described by colleagues as passionate, vivacious and charming, loving his customers and his route, Richard shows outstanding levels of customer service. Five of his 10-year experience has been at Abellio's Battersea garage where he has constantly received glowing feedback from customers who reiterate his positive attitude. His customer service skills have won him an Abellio Excellence Gold Tie after which, selected from 13,000 people, he won his company's Employee of the Year award. Andrew's manager says that his positive outlook lifts morale and has a hugely valuable effect on his colleagues and he always takes time to answer questions and support his colleagues. Andrew impressed the judges as an excellent ambassador for both his company and for the bus driving profession.
Trevor Stotten, Epsom Buses
Trevor is regarded as a 'silent hero' at Quality Line's Epsom depot, standing out for his professionalism and diplomacy. He treats all passengers on his X26 Croydon to Heathrow route as individuals, keeping them fully informed if there are delays, and providing help and reassurance when needed. Trevor also takes a keen interest in operational performance and works closely with engineers to maintain high standards, so there is hardly any lost mileage due to mechanical issues. The judges were impressed with Trevor's attitude - before London Buses went cashless in the summer, he made sure all his colleagues knew where travellers from overseas could purchase Oyster Cards, listing all the local newsagents and shops in the area. When asked why, his answer was simple: "My job is to help and assist our passengers and make it easier for the drivers".
Who could be nominated?
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