North East

Local Authority Bus Project of the Year sponsored by The TAS Partnership

Winner, Gold Award:

Improving Inter-urban Buses in Darlington - Darlington Borough Council

Darlington Borough Council (DBC), in partnership with Arriva, sought to deliver a step change in the quality of interurban buses operating in and out of the town. The aim was to exploit a growing commuter market and ensure that Darlington's economy could grow without incurring any negative impacts of traffic growth. DBC turned around routes which had long been in decline and which had a very poor public perception, achieving 12% growth in patronage in the last three years.

The judges acknowledged that Dralington Borough Council has played a huge role in engineering and securing funding for improvements in Darlington's bus services.

The Award for Marketing Initiative of the Year sponsored by Passenger Transport

Winner, Silver Award

County Durham and Tees Valley Direct Marketing Project - Darlington Borough Council

Durham County Council, the five Tees Valley Unitary Authorities, Stagecoach, Arriva and Go North East all worked together to deliver a Direct Marketing project across over 40,000 households in the Tees Valley and southern County Durham. The aim was to grow the local bus market and sell the benefits of the DfT-funded ú57m five-year Tees Valley Bus Network Improvement Project. The aim of the scheme was to provide a step change in the quality of bus services across the area and create a marketing campaign to raise awareness about the improved bus offer and entice new passengers onto the network. The campaign included free ticket vouchers to households, telephone research on travel habits, a free weekly ticket to qualifying households, and discounted travel to encourage continued use. A response rate of 8% (3,000 residents) trialled bus services and the upshot is patronage increase of 12% on some routes.

The Award for Sustained Marketing Excellence sponsored by Exterion Media

Winner, Bronze Award, Listen - Target - Go! - Go North East

Go North East (GNE) is proud of its strategic and effective marketing, backed up by solid research and the use of techniques more akin to major retailers to ensure its business is well supported and that marketing activity is targeted and cost-effective. GNE uses a mixture of traditional marketing and new technology to achieve and maintain passenger numbers. The company has undertaken a number of campaigns recently from family fun days with the aim of getting families to sample travel by bus to a refreshed GNE M-Ticket app with new features such as the ability to gift a ticket to another person and payment using Pingit. The updated M-Ticket app has shown a 300% increase in downloads compared to last year.

The judges acknowledged the achievements of Go North East - and also new, strong branding - despite the pressures of the political climate in the North East.

Top City Operator sponsored by INIT Innovations

Winner, Bronze Award, - Go North East

At the heart of Go North East's (GNE) approach lies rigorous staff training, close partnerships with the public and private sector, extensive marketing and customer research and a passion for innovation. The company also prides itself on its strategic marketing output and consistent independent passenger satisfaction scores, reaching 90% in 2014/15. GNE has steadily driven growth in passenger volumes and satisfaction levels in recent years. Refreshing conventional approaches, and the introduction of new technology in its communications, pricing and delivery of services across the region, have challenged established thinking about the way bus service should be run.

Top National Bus Driver: the Chris Moyes Memorial Award sponsored by Traffilog

Finalist, Daniel Curry - Arriva North East

Everything Arriva North East driver Daniel Curry does is carried out with huge amounts of enthusiasm and passion. Extremely popular with customers, his dedication and professionalism shine through and Daniel offers guidance and support to his colleagues at all times. He has received numerous commendations from both customers and employees in his seven years with Arriva, and as a mentor for new drivers, he often receives positive feedback from members of staff thanking him for his support. Daniel ensures trainees are fully aware of all aspects of customer care, safety and customer expectations and is always on hand to help them no matter what time of day. When it comes to passengers, he shows empathy to each one and excels in difficult situations. Last year he was nominated by a colleague to become an 'Arriva Angel', promoting outstanding customer service. During his time in this role, Daniel has attended many events at local businesses, universities and hospitals promoting bus travel.

The judges were impressed by Daniel's role as not just a bus driver with shining customer service but as an ambassador for the bus industry both on the bus and at stakeholder events.

Top National Bus Depot sponsored by Personal Group

Winner, Gold Award, Sunderland - Stagecoach North East

Stagecoach North East says its Sunderland depot is "proud to be providing a reliable and friendly service for customers, with consistently high engineering standards and impressive operational performance." The depot team combine hard work with fun "the team is considered part of the local community," the company says. "They regularly take part in sports events, dressing up or taking off their clothes, all with the aim of raising money for local charities."

The judges noted excellent lost mileage figures (0.3 in 2014) and punctuality figures of 97%.

Finalist, Newcastle - Arriva North East

Arriva North East's Newcastle Depot is achieving record scores in employee and customer satisfaction surveys, and, says the Company, it is the keen focus on the customer that is driving these results. "The engagement levels at the depot are outstanding and they demonstrate a commendable commitment to passengers, employees and the community they serve," it adds.

The judges were impressed by the commitment and hard work shown by the depot during two closures of the Metro system - 14 days last year and a month in 2013.

Unsung Heroes Award sponsored by Backhouse Jones

Highly Commended, Kevin Richardson - Arriva North East

"In his role as Operations Manager of Arriva North East's Newcastle depot, Kevin Richardson oversees the successful delivery of a punctual and quality bus service for the people of Tyne and Wear," says his employer. "He plays a key part in making sure that his customers get to where they need to be comfortably and on time. Kevin is always on hand to help customers, colleagues and stakeholders, whilst always being very modest about the outstanding support he offers," it adds.

Young Manager of the Year sponsored by Chartered Institute of Logisitics & Transport

Winner, Bronze Award, Will Pare - Arriva North East

Will Pare is Operations Manager of the Stockton depot for Arriva North East meaning he ensures that 170 drivers and 70 buses operate 11,500 miles to get customers where they need to be. He joined Arriva on the management graduate programme in 2012 and has transformed positively the environments he works in. His enthusiasm and professionalism set him apart as being committed to improving service delivery and providing the very best journey experience for customers. In the past 12 months since joining Stockton, Will has seen a 25% improvement in lost mileage and great rises in punctuality figures which he provides on a personal basis to drivers so they understand that everything they do has a direct impact on customers. His core aim is for all employees and passengers on the routes to smile and since he joined, employee satisfaction increased to 72% in 2014. Will has also worked closely with the team at Arriva Yorkshire to actively change and improve the business and during his secondment there, where he led the project to achieve Investor In People Gold status which came to fruition in 2013. He has also been awarded Newcomer of the Year at Arriva North East. For Will, a multi-modal approach is the future for transport and bus travel.

The judges were highly impressed by Will's charm, energy and enthusiasm, not least in wanting to put a smile on fellow employee's faces as well as to customers.

Finalist, Laura Smith - Stagecoach North East

Laura Smith is responsible for operations at a busy city depot within a demanding and highly competitive environment in the North East of England. As Operations Manager for Stagecoach's Sunderland Depot, she leads a team of 203 driving and 14 administrative staff. Laura approaches challenges in a calm and considered manner. She has quietly and efficiently made operational improvements, demonstrating you don't need to be 'flashy' to be a star performer. She provides leadership to her team of supervisors and drivers and sets quality standards as well as making sure that numerous regular tasks are completed to sure the smooth running of the depot. Laura spends time with her supervisory team to help them deliver their skills. One young Duty Manager under her mentorship has become an Assistant Operations Manager in Scotland. When things go wrong or potential problems appear, Laura looks to identify staff concerns in order to find solutions. She takes a collaborative approach, but is not frightened to make a decision even if some team members disagree and will take time to explain her reasoning. Notable KPI achievements in her first year at Sunderland include 99.7% reliability and 96.3% punctuality in 2014/15 and reducing staff sickness by 23%.

The judges were very impressed by Laura's calm, can-do approach, her quiet efficiency, and her strong leadership all during a time of upheaval in Tyne and Wear for bus operations.

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