North East

Environment sponsored by Volvo Bus

Finalist

Buses Do Their Bit - Durham Air Quality Monitoring Area - Go North East

Durham County Council approached Go North East (GNE) in 2014 to discuss its intention to declare an Air Quality Monitoring Area (AQMA) for the Durham City area. An appraisal of the options was carried out, one of which was to reduce diesel engine emissions from buses. GNE agreed to be part of the process and made a successful Green Buses joint funding bid to fit particulate traps to buses working on the Prince Bishops route which runs into the AQMA area from Gilesgate into the City Centre. GNE had recently introduced hybrid buses onto the Angel branded route with a pledge that it would look to introduce more low emission vehicles on routes when in future years. GNE has continued to invest in its fleet, introducing more low emission vehicles to help to achieve the aims of the AQMA. This has included a fleet of 12 Optare Solos for the Indigo and seven Streetlite double decks onto The Castles Express, followed by 20 Streetlite single decks in May and June 2016 for the Prince Bishops route.

The judges noted the good partnership with Durham County Council and Go North East's ongoing efforts to reduce emissions from its vehicles.

Making Buses a Better Choice: the Peter Huntley Memorial Award sponsored by Heathrow Airport

Finalist, The Castles Express - Go North East

Go North East's Castles Express is the new brand for interurban bus service linking Bishop Auckland, Durham, Chester-le-Street and Newcastle. New high specification branded vehicles with leather seats, power sockets, free wifi, next stop announcements and four tables on the upper deck have been introduced along with a slightly revised route producing much increased reliability. Passenger and revenue growth has been between 11% and 13% against the same week the previous year.

The judges considered this to be an excellent example of turning around an existing service with resultant growth in passenegr numbers and revenue. The distinctive branding makes it clear where the vehicles are going and sit alongside other sucessful branded routes Go North East operates.

New Horizons Award sponsored by Institute of Road Transport Engineers

Finalist, Nerve Centre Revolution - Go North East

Codenamed the Nerve Centre Revolution, Go North East has centralised its three control rooms into one Service Delivery Centre which harnesses the latest technology to provide upto date information for its customers through a mobile phone app and social media. All 650 vehicles in the fleet are now tracked in real time and calls from drivers are now answered in an a average of eight seconds compared with three minutes previously. Partnerships have been strengthened with local authorities and the team now have access to 125 CCTV cameras and will soon have a member of staffed based at Tyne and Wear Urban Traffic Management Control. Using real time tracking to identify blockages is allowing re-routing to bring increased reliability. The Quaylink service now has 95% of buses on time, up from 79%.

The judges were pleased to not the benefits that the new centre brings to customers by increasing reliability and providing real time information. Better internal communication, particularly with drivers, was also noted.

The Award for Sustained Marketing Excellence sponsored by Exterion Media

Finalist, Go, Go, Go! - Go North East

Go North East uses strategic and effective marketing backed up by solid research and the use of sophisticated techniques more akin to major retailers to ensure its business is well supported and its marketing activity targeted and cost effective. Over 10,000 pieces of customer feedback are collected and analysed every month via a number of channels by its dedicated customer services team, which leads to improvements for the customer. New technology has helped Go North East deliver successful and targeted marketing campaigns mixed with more traditional methods. The company has analysed bus routes and demographics to deliver and personalise mailers in concentrated areas along the lines of route to households within 600 metres of a bus stop. The personalised information includes their nearest bus stop and journey times.

The judges noted the granular research undertaken by Go North East and how that is translated into highly targeted and very successful marketing using a mixture of traditional and digital techniques.

Top National Bus Depot sponsored by Personal Group

Finalist, Gateshead Riverside - Go North East

Gateshead Riverside is Go North East's flagship facility which opened in January 2014 as part of the company's centenary celebrations. The ú8.5m, 3,500sq m facility was built on the 5.75 acre site of the former Dunston Power Station. It houses 170 vehicles and over 500 employees and is the only public transport depot in the north east to have such technically advanced equipment which has enhanced health and safety and boosted efficiency. It is also home to the company's occupational health, recruitment and training facilities as well as its new service delivery centre. Along with the company's customer service team, the service delivery centre monitors a range of communication channels and all of its services in real time providing a very high level of support for the company's customers and staff.

The judges were impressed with the new depot housing operations alongside customer service and training. It was noted that keeping personal relationships in such a large facility must be difficult.

Unsung Heroes Award sponsored by Backhouse Jones

UKBA Special Commendation for Outstanding Service, John Gordon - Go North East

Bus Station Manager John Gordon works for Go North East predominently at Eldon Square Bus Station, which is one of the most busiest bus stations in the region with over 60 departures an hour at peak times. The role requires quick thinking and knowledge of which routes come from which depot to help achieve the smoothest operation possible for the company and customers. He also has to deal with customer enquiries ranging from a simple timetable query or which is the best ticket to buy, to helping customers when buses may be delayed due to road closures or bad weather. Communication, both internally and to customers, plays a very important part in a role and John has undertaken sign language training in his own time to help him communicate with customers. John thrives in a busy environment and is often seen to be going out of his way to help customers and the company he works for. Some tasks are undertaken out of normal hours, where John has turned up early or stayed late to go above and beyond the call of his job.

The judges were impressed with John's dedication to his role and noted that he often stays beyond his working hours to assist customers. They were also impressed that he is learning sign language in his own time.

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

Winner, Bronze Award, Sophie Moorby - Go North East

Since starting with Go North East in 2014 Sophie Moorby quickly achieved the role of Depot Manager at Washington, the youngest person in company history to achieve the role at the age of 23. Sophie has used her positive attitude and confidence to focus on helping her staff so that she can get the most out of her staff, and thus improving the service for customers - and she has achieved buy in from every member of staff in her depot increasing engagement and morale. As a young female graduate taking over a depot early in her career, Sophie has integrated well into the team working well on her own, but also drawing on the company's knowledge and experience when necessary. She has brought some fresh new ideas to the team, using a very impressive leadership and engagement model, whilst working hard to promote the company's long term success.

The judges were extremely impressed with Sophie and what she has achieved. Her direct, straight forward and no nonsense approach has served her well, and she has worked hard to bring on her staff and build an effective team around her. She has enormous potential for a very successful career in the bus industry and the judges would like to see her progress in a couple of years with another entry.

Group Travel World

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