Brighton & Hove and Crawley in the spotlight at UK Bus Awards
- Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Co - Bus and the Community: Gold
- Metrobus – Top Shire Operator: Silver
- Compass Travel – Top Independent Operator: Bronze
- Metrobus, Crawley Depot – Top National Depot: Bronze
Bus operators in the South East are celebrating the success, hard work and star quality of their staff after winning five awards in five categories at the prestigious 2016 UK Bus Awards today.
Gold was struck twice by Sussex operators. Community, accessibility and making life easier for passengers lies at the heart of the Gold Award won by Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company. This was in the Bus and the Community category for its Helping Hand project.
The operator provides this assistive information card as and it is acclaimed as being the best available. So much so that Tthe scheme is used widely by other bus operators in surrounding areas, and the deliberately unbranded cards are also used in cinemas and shops as far afield as the continent. The card's bespoke messages don't label the customer's condition (unless they wish it to) but instead focus on the type of help needed such as 'Please be patient if I'm confused'. The company is working with Government to see if it's possible to roll the scheme out across the country. "Brilliant!" was the way the judges enthusiastically described the entry, where exemplary engagement with organisations and the local community has allowed person-led development which will hopefully be adopted across the country.
Metrobus in Sussex won a double, firstly scooping the Silver Award in the Top Shire Operator category. The last 15 years have seen unprecedented growth, investment in fleet, depot infrastructure and new technology. The company now is an integral part of life in Surrey, Kent and Sussex – from close work with Gatwick Airport to providing free morning newspapers on all its buses. The judges welcomed continuous improvement and innovation while consistently running services on time and good drivers. The company’s 24/7 telephone service is exceptional and reflects the company's commitment to customer service.
Metrobus also won the Bronze Award for its Crawley Depot in the contest to find Britain’s Top National Bus Depot. Metrobus started operating from its Crawley base in 2001 when the existing operator declared that operations in the town were unviable. The depot has achieved an enviable reputation for quality, investment and customer service and now houses a fleet of 145 vehicles. The judges praised the quality of the operation in an area that is difficult for recruiting staff, noting the flexible working arrangements for staff with a young family.
Meanwhile, Worthing-based Compass Travel celebrates winning the Bronze Award in the coveted Top Independent Operator awardcategory. The company operates across East and West Sussex and partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council and Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company. This means that Compass is now accepting Keycard and M tickets issued by the Brighton operator - a major advance for passengers in the area by providing improving flexibility of travel. The judges were impressed that Compass Travel is going from strength to strength, picking up routes from other operators and making a commercial success of tendered routes.
A total of 53 winners were selected from 99 finalists whittled down from over 250 entries through a rigorous process of judging. They were announced at a glittering ceremony in London on November 23, following mystery traveller checks during October.
The annual awards, now in their 21st year, recognise and reward the achievements of the bus industry, from operators to local authorities, PTEs and Combined Authorities - and aim to inspire others with winning approaches.
Congratulating the winners, Tony Depledge, chairman of the UK Bus Awards, praised the quality and range of all the finalists. "Once again, our winners are a credit to the industry," he commented, adding: “The UK Bus Awards are all about celebrating innovation, talent and good ideas, so it was a real pleasure to be able to recognise and reward the huge commitment and sheer hard work everybody has put in.”
"Across all award categories, our judges saw an impressive range of entries that tackle new challenges, research new customer needs and build on past success,” continued Tony. “This is an industry that can be proud of its record - and we're delighted to showcase our winners today to inspire our whole sector to keep working to deliver great customer service and keep innovating now and in the future."
The lunchtime ceremony took place before an audience of more than 650 industry movers and shakers. The UK Bus Awards scheme which plays a key role in:
- raising the profile of buses locally and nationally;
- helping to shape customer perceptions; and
- showcasing the people who work so hard to deliver, plan and promote bus services across the country’s local communities.
More details on the winners, finalists and awards scheme can be found at on this web site.