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.
This award is open to garages that operate buses on contract to London Bus Services Ltd. Performance and monitoring data will be 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 is 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.
The Winners: Epsom, Quality Line (Epsom Coaches Group)
Quality Line clearly puts exceptional effort into maintaining the quality of the service it provides on its eight London Buses routes and its complaint handling procedures and concern for staff wellbeing and development are noteworthy. The operator is very active in the community, in both transport-related and wider community and civic matters including business, charity and youth activities as well as liaison with local schools. There is a strong sense of camaraderie at this garage.
Quality Line has won two environmental awards by virtue of its efforts to reduce the impact of its activities including reduction of water and energy consumption, use of biofuels and trialling the first hybrid bus in London. The operating site is about to be redeveloped and sustainable energy sourcing will make it one of the ‘greenest’ garages. Continually striving to provide an example of best practice and with a clear focus on customer service and quality, Epsom is a deserving winner of this award in 2009.
Over the past five years Metroline and its employees have achieved a sustained improvement in performance and all areas of customer service at Brentford. Employee relations, motivation and development have all been radically improved so that staff turnover and absence levels have both been reduced to 3%. There is a plan to achieve ISO9001 accreditation by the end of 2009.
The staff have embraced the introduction of hybrid vehicles with enthusiasm, with drivers keen to be amongst the first to drive them on regular service and engineers attending training sessions with the manufacturer enabling them to support the new technology. All staff are encouraged to participate in monthly open forums to provide feedback and suggestions.
As a result of these various initiatives Brentford has been transformed into a top performer - to the benefit of staff and passengers alike.
Grays, Arriva Kent Thameside
At Grays there has been a sustained improvement in service quality over the past two years, particularly in service timekeeping and vehicle presentation standards. Attention given to driver recruitment and training has resulted in notable improvements in professionalism and customer care and there is now a waiting list of people wanting to join.
Route managers have completed service delivery BTECs and depot support managers have garage support BTECS, helping them to ensure that buses run as they should and providing support to drivers. The team has built a positive attitude amongst driving staff and timekeeping has improved significantly. Meanwhile, recruitment of an experienced engineering manager has improved vehicle maintenance and cleanliness.
The focus on creating a good team atmosphere has resulted in an impressive turnaround.
Hayes, Abellio London
Hayes garage has consistently delivered high quality services to passengers on its four West London routes. The management pride themselves on being in tune with all garage issues and getting feedback from drivers both individually and through regular depot forums, thus enabling them to understand concerns and thus improve the level of service. The garage was praised by the Investors in People assessor for demonstrating best practice in staff training, learning and development. All employees have received customer care training to NVQ level and the garage has become a training centre for delivery of national drivers’ CPC accreditation. The engineering team are dedicated to a high level of presentation and have managed to reduce lost mileage to 0.7%. Management and supervisors regularly sample the product and all in all there is a consistent approach to delivering high performance.
Palmers Green, Arriva London
Palmers Green is proud of its history and of being a top performing garage despite the challenge of difficult operating conditions caused by its location close to the North Circular road. The garage has its own engineering team now, resulting in an MoT pass rate of 100% and mechanical lost mileage down to an impressive 0.15% this year to date. The enthusiastic staff take an active interest in technical development projects such as new types of driver’s seat, wheel pointers and tyre pressure valves.
Lifelong learning for all staff is encouraged by means of a computer suite and a Learning Skills Worker based there coordinates courses. The teamwork approach engendered at AD includes well-established channels of communication, including LCD screens and open forums, and a sense of history and strong values with an appetite to embrace the future.
Waterloo, Go-Ahead London
Waterloo’s consistent high performance over the past seven years is the result of good communication and feedback between management and drivers together with a high standard of customer care. CCTV footage is downloaded at every possible opportunity to help analyse and tackle problems with the drivers concerned so that lessons can be learned. Accident blackspots are highlighted and near misses reported to help drivers avoid problems.
Base managers are involved in all aspects of the garage’s work including covering mileage that would otherwise be lost due to mechanical issues or staff sickness. They have a strong relationship with the local community including local businesses and the Union Jack club and assist the London Fire Brigade with aspects of staff training.
Waterloo operates the 507 and 521 commuter routes to extremely high standards and staff are clearly dedicated to ensuring maximum service mileage is operated.