Making Buses a Better Choice

The Peter Huntley Memorial Award

Peter Huntley, who helped to found the UK Bus AwardsPeter Huntley had a long career in public transport, working in transport co-ordination for local authorities, as a consultant at The TAS Partnership, as a journalist and writer, and as an inspirational managing director of a bus company, Go North East, between 2006 and 2011. He was tragically killed in a climbing accident in February 2012 at the age of 55.

Peter helped to found the UK Bus Awards in 1995 and we have dedicated this award in his memory as the category that best represents the breadth of his interests and his passion for excellence.

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About the Award

This Award is designed to recognise and reward initiatives, projects or innovations which add value to or otherwise improve the attractiveness of bus services to both users and non-users. 

The judges will be looking for a scheme, project or partnership that achieved one or more of the following:

  • improved the provision of an existing bus service
  • improved passenger facilities on an existing bus service
  • provided a genuinely innovative new service
  • improved services through new infrastructure or facilities giving faster and/or more reliable journeys.

The 2015 Results

Winner, Gold Award

Upgrade to the Fastway service - Metrobus

Metrobus' Fastway Rapid Transit is a 24-hour service principally for workers at Gatwick Airport and business commuters. Launched ten years ago, 2014/15 has seen dramatic improvements including a ú3m investment in the Fastway Upgrade which comprises guided busways, bus lanes and bus-only links, and high-spec infrastructure. The service is the result of a partnership between Metrobus, Gatwick Airport and four local authorities. The upgrade project was funded by Metrobus, with support from the other partners. To justify the ú3m which funded 18 new vehicles and continuing timetable improvement, Metrobus needed to increase patronage by 4% - in the first 12 months of introducing the new buses, patronage on both Fastway routes was up by 8% to over 4.2m passengers per annum.

The judges welcomed the explicit connection of the upgrade to passenger growth and that Metrobus, building on something that works, and setting sensible targets against which the scheme can be monitored. They also noted that the partnership remains strong.

Winner, Silver Award

Coaster - Southern Vectis

delivering a viable alternative to the car for visitors to the Isle of Wight 

Since re-launching the scenic Coaster route in 2013 with buses capable of carrying bikes, and an increased frequency, the route has experienced phenomenal growth. Initially the re-launch was supported with LSTF funding, but has now grown to be a viable commercial proposition through effective partnership working and attractive marketing.

The judges were impressed that Southern Vectis had looked at all segments of the market and implemented solid plans based on future projection, taking the LSTF based approach and developing it. The judges felt that this entry ticks a lot of boxes, and while being a small project, was one of the best entries for doing what the category asks: making buses a better choice.

Winner, Bronze Award

The Arriva Bus App: A Smarter Way to Travel - Arriva UK Bus

Arriva was the first company to launch a national ticketing app in 2009. Building on its success, the company has developed a second app which employs more technology and greater functionality. Routes maps, timetable information and ticket information about all Arriva Buses are also available.

The features of the app impressed the judges and stood out as innovative for them.

Finalist

Taking bus travel to the MAX - Arriva North East and Yorkshire

MAX is an Arriva sub-brand of interurban express services across the North East and Yorkshire which concentrates on providing outstanding service delivery, and placing technology at the heart of its messaging to ensure perceptions of bus travel are truly challenged. Research showed customers wanted accessible information, free Wi-Fi, and to travel in a comfortable and safe environment. MAX is seeing revenue growth across all services, with figures reaching above and beyond set targets and overall customer satisfaction has risen by 9% from 2013 to 2014.

The judges noted that Arriva has invested heavily in in MAX, has changed minds and made buses a better choice.

Finalist

Improving services between Barnsley and Pontefract - Stagecoach Yorkshire

The Pontefract corridor in Barnsley has a high volume of buses travelling along one main traffic vein before breaking off to other areas in South and West Yorkshire. Over previous years the services were not effectively co-ordinated meaning long gaps between buses. In 2014, a range of improvements in services were made, stimulating patronage growth of 11.7%. Punctuality and reliability issues were tackled by means of extra running and layover time to ensure a robust timetable as well as overall service provision, with two co-ordinated 10-minute headways.

The judges were impressed by the quality of Stagecoach Yorkshire's mapping and the significant rise in patronage achieved.

Finalist

Peak Line 218 - Peak Performance - TM Travel

TM Travel has turned round an important link between Sheffield and the Peak District - route 218. It had developed a poor reputation due to erratic time-keeping and old, inaccessible vehicles. Following detailed research and consultation, the route was relaunched in early 2015 with refurbished vehicles, an improved timetable and a fresh new brand. The result was strong patronage growth - the highest level being 47%.

The judges were impressed by the level of improvement on the back of strong partnership with the National Park Authority, Bakewell Puddings and Chatsworth. This entry caught the judges' attention for its different approaches.

Who could be nominated?

Entries were welcomed from operators, authorities and others specifying and securing services, partnerships and tourist agencies.

… and by whom?

Nominations were accepted from all eligible organisations and self-nomination was acceptable.

Criteria and Entry Requirements

The judges were looking for entries which added value to, or otherwise improved, bus services by making them faster, more efficient, offered improved passenger facilities or otherwise able to provide a better service. Decisions were based on the quality of the submissions made and the extent to which they addressed the criteria.

Note that where schemes have equal or equivalent merit, the final determinants were the nature and extent of improvements for customers and the degree of priority accorded to buses.

Entry submissions were therefore required to:

  • Describe the services or schemes involved.
  • Describe the objectives set for the initiative.
  • Describe how the needs of existing and potential additional passengers, including those with mobility difficulties, were met
  • Describe any environmental benefits and show how any environmental impacts were minimised
  • State whether a partnership was involved. This may include service specification and financing and any interested bodies, including local authorities, local bus operators and other commercial organisations or user, leisure and tourist representative groups
  • Describe how:
    • needs and potential needs were assessed, including details of market evaluation and customer research
    • potential customers were informed of the improved or new product(s)
    • interest in, or desire for, the product(s) was assessed
    • customers’ access to the product(s) was facilitated.
  • Indicate the methods used to measure:State whether any subsequent changes were made as a result of the monitoring
    • the progress made towards meeting the objectives
    • overall patronage
    • the impact of promotional campaigns before, during and after the initiative
  • Supply statistical evidence showing the results of the initiative in terms of patronage, revenue or other appropriate indicators and modal shift.
  • State whether the results are likely to be sustainable
  • Describe any future plans for further development
  • Include any relevant supporting material.