The Putting Passengers First Award

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Delivery of good customer service is vital to future of the bus industry. This Award is designed to promote its delivery and improvement by rewarding excellence, best practice and innovation in this essential area.

The judges are looking for:

  • An organisation that broken genuinely new ground in the delivery of customer satisfaction, or
  • A particular creative solution, developed by an organisation or team, which had vastly improved the passenger experience, or
  • An initiative that had improved the journey experience for a particular passenger group

Ideally, the winner of the award will set ambitions for the future and thus blaze a trail for others in the industry to follow.

The 2014 Results

Partnership in action in the West MidlandsGold Award Winner

Transforming Bus Travel - Partnership Plus, CENTRO - WMPTA and partners

Following the success of the 'Transforming Bus Travel' partnership between Centro, National Express and other bus operators in the West Midlands which surpassed every target, the project was enhanced and expanded in 2013. Partnership Plus is a shared vision to improve bus travel through a high-quality, accessible bus network, enabling patronage to grow each year and contributing to the economy and well-being of the region. The success brought about by a real involvement of stakeholders and the mechanisms to put passengers first impressed the judges, with a 7% improvement in punctuality, an 8% gain in customer satisfaction scores in the recent Passenger Focus surveys and an increase in passenger numbers.

Investing in customer service with technology in the North EastSilver Award Winner

Investing in Our Customers, Go North East

Despite the difficult north-east economy, Go North East has not been content to rest on its reputation for service and innovation, but has continued to implement initiatives both in service provision and the way that it interacts with its customers. The way the company uses new technology to help put passengers first appealed to the judges, as did the way customer feedback is collected on a daily basis through social media and via its customer service team - and then acted upon. An extensive market research programme backs up this approach with an on-line passenger panel, targeted research, and mystery traveller checks and Passenger Focus customer satisfaction scores of over 90% reflect the success of the company's approach

The new traveshop in EdinburghBronze Award Winner

Taking Customer Service to the Next Level, Lothian Buses

After carrying out a detailed review of its approach to customers, Lothian Buses' aim was to take the overall experience for them to a new level in preparation for initiatives such as its new information and ticketing app, and m-ticketing. The company integrated the teams covering its travel shops and customer service to create a seamless experience wherever customer interface occurred. The judges were impressed with how Lothian Buses enhanced its already impressive customer service ethos, even among those who are not directly customer-facing, noting its 96% customer satisfaction score in recent Passenger Focus surveys - the best in the UK.

Finalists

Angels in action for ArrivaThe Arriva Angels, Arriva Yorkshire and Arriva North East

The Arriva Angels are a select group of bus drivers, from Arriva's North East and Yorkshire depots, who have been given added responsibility to promote outstanding customer service, go over and above to help and assist passengers in need and provide a direct form of communication on services and products. Thought to be a first in the industry, the dedication and commitment of the Angels have been rewarded with a significant increase of between 7% and 15% in customer satisfaction scores at all of the depots measured since their appointment. The judges were impressed with the initiative, where drivers exceed the normal levels of interaction and make a real difference to the journey experience of passengers.

Investing in customer service with technology in the North EastInvesting in Our Customers, Go North East

Despite the difficult north-east economy, Go North East has not been content to rest on its reputation for service and innovation, but has continued to implement initiatives both in service provision and the way that it interacts with its customers. The way the company uses new technology to help put passengers first appealed to the judges, as did the way customer feedback is collected on a daily basis through social media and via its customer service team - and then acted upon. An extensive market research programme backs up this approach with an on-line passenger panel, targeted research, and mystery traveller checks and Passenger Focus customer satisfaction scores of over 90% reflect the success of the company's approach

Promoting buses in ChesterGetting Chester Back on the Bus, Stagecoach Merseyside

Since the acquisition of the bus network in Chester in January 2013, Stagecoach has transformed and re-launched the city service network, offering enhanced service levels, newer, greener buses, lower fares and improved marketing. With the aim of 'Getting Chester Back on the Bus', the company engaged proactively with a wide range of stakeholders and, as a result, has changed the perception of the bus in the area, as well as improving training and facilities for its staff. The resulting 12%, and still growing, increase in passenger numbers in just 18 months impressed the judges.

Ensuring access for all in London'All Aboard!', Transport for London

Transport for London and accessibility charities, Transport for All and Age UK, came together in 2013 to develop a new awareness training programme for all 24,500 London bus drivers. The interactive programme called 'All Aboard' is designed to give London bus drivers a greater understanding of the needs of older and disabled passengers, building on TfL's on-going commitment to making London's bus network easier to access for these passenger groups. The practicality of the training and how highly interactive it is, encouraging drivers to get involved and giving them a strong and real understanding of the issues, particularly appealed to the judges.

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

Decisions were based on the quality of the submissions made and the extent to which they address the criteria. Therefore, nominations were required to:

  • Describe the project or organisation that is being submitted for the award
  • Show how the nominee has achieved one or more of the following:
  • Delivery of outstanding standards of service to bus passengers
  • Improvement in the standards of its service to all its passengers
  • Improvements to the journey experience of particular groups of passengers including those with restricted mobility
  • Show why the nomination is innovative and likely to influence others in the industry

In assessing and comparing entries, judges took into account the nominees’ underlying approach to customer service standards, which will be judged on the factors set out below. These also needed to be addressed in the entry:

  • Employee training and involvement: the extent to which staff are involved in the delivery of excellent customer service and in the development of the standards by which the organisation judges itself
  • Service delivery: how the organisation goes about achieving consistency of delivery and measurement of standards
  • Recovery – how the nominee goes about restoring the customer confidence when performance falls short of the expected quality
  • Customer information and contact: the approaches used by the organisation to ensure that customers are:
    • treated with respect and integrity
    • kept informed
    • provided with easily accessible points of contact
    • provided with clearly documented, published and auditable complaints procedures
  • Customer research - the extent to which a company or organisation:
    • seeks to discover the needs and expectations of bus customers, with some indication of the results of such a strategy.
    • bases its strategy on customer feedback
    • measures its achievements (and/or failures) by research and monitoring and uses results to modify or improve its approach