North West

Bus and the Community Award

Winner, Bronze Award

Work experience for students with disabilities - Transport for Greater Manchester

Working with Redwood School in Rochdale and the charity Pure Innovations in Stockport,Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) offers work experience placements to people with learning and physical disabilities at bus stations and transport interchanges in North and South Manchester. Sixteen students have completed the placements which have been tailored to their individual needs. The experience has given the students the opportunity to work as part of a team, develop new skills which has boosted their self-confidence and in at least one case, has led to employment. TfGM has also benefited as the students have helped the organisation develop a deeper understanding of the issues that affect people with disabilities when using public transport and assisted in devising solutions.

The judges were impressed with this simple and adaptable scheme which opens up opportunities and creates real long term impact on the students taking part. Having disabled people in the bus industry will help make it more aware of the special needs of some of its passengers, as well as providing a rewarding experience for its staff and demonstrating that TfGM is a part of the community it serves.

Finalist, Disability Awareness - Blackpool Transport Services

Realising that a significant proportion of disabled people are unable to drive and do not use the bus or tram, Blackpool Transport created a scheme to champion this group through an enhanced offer based on a greater awareness by its staff of the varying needs of disabled travellers. Stakeholders from various disability groups worked in partnership to deliver experiential learning and customer engagement, extending the mandatory CPC training.

The judges noted that although much of the activity undertaken will be needed for all operators next year, being an early adopter could produce some best practice for the rest of the industry.

Environment sponsored by Volvo Bus

Winner, Bronze Award

Clean Air for Schools - Transport for Greater Manchester

Better air quality is a key shared priority for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester. TfGM has developed a number of initiatives to help deliver the required improvements in local air quality, including work to encourage the use of Yellow School Buses, and alterations to reduce the vehicles' emissions as part of the Clean Air for Schools programme. Two successful bids for government funding enabled TfGM to retrofit air pollution control equipment on all of the region's fleet of 41 Yellow School Buses. The remaining Yellow School Buses are hybrid diesel-electric, already producing up to 30% fewer greenhouse gas emissions. A condition of DfT's Clean Bus Technology Funding was that projects must deliver at least a 50% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. However, TfGM set a higher target of an 80% reduction in these levels and over the course of six months achieved a reduction of up to 99% overall.

The judges like idea that school children should go to school by bus, rather than by car, which reduces congestion and emissions. TFGM's scheme has produced very good outcomes, providing good value for the funding.

Top City Operator sponsored by INIT Innovations

Winner, Bronze Award

Arriva Merseyside

Arriva Merseyside employs just short of 2,000 people, operating out of six garages covering Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral, Sefton and St Helens. Over 80 million passenger journeys are made each year with over 600 vehicles. Significant investment has been made in 114 new vehicles fitted with free wifi, as well as a further 48 hybrid and 12 all electric buses. Arriva Merseyside considers itself to be a company focussed on people - both customers and employees, and a close-knit management team inspires confidence and good morale at each individual site. Numerous social activities take place to build team spirit across the garages including football teams, golf teams and numerous other social societies. Staff regularly take in activities such as cycle rides and mountain climbs to raise money for charities. There is a real sense of pride at Arriva Merseyside and depots are often used as trial areas for initiatives which are then rolled out across the company.

The judges noted the high standard of the company's cross-river services using hybid vehicles and Arriva Merseyside's continued significant investment in new vehicles. The judges also applauded the company's Polish and Promote scheme focussing staff on making buses look the best that they can before leaving taking passengers.

Finalist

Stagecoach Merseyside and South Lancashire

Stagecoach Merseyside comprises of Liverpool's Gillmoss depot and the Birkenhead garage, which between them operate 218 buses and employ 528 drivers, 95 engineers and 25 management and support staff. Last year the company operated 25.4 million passenger journeys, achieving 93.3% reliability. Passenger Focus found Stagecoach Merseyside was voted best value for money in both the PTE and All England categories, and its buses were voted best in the PTE for cleanliness and condition. Drivers are trained to assist customers in wheelchairs with boarding and alighting and the company offers a free taxi service for any customer in a wheelchair who is intending boarding a service which is full. Towards the end of last year, the first Stagecoach gold fleet of 16 ADL 300's was delivered for use between Liverpool, Wirral and Chester with free wifi, Italian leather seats and USB charging points. Then in April, 14 Enviro 400 MMC's, also with free wifi and USB charging points, were introduced on Liverpool's 14 route. Stagecoach Merseyside is part of a new formal 'Bus Alliance' with PTE Merseytravel and bus operator Arriva which aims to grow the number of fare paying passengers, improving customer satisfaction and driving up investment for the benefit of all who use bus services in the Liverpool city region.

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