Environment Award sponsored by Volvo Bus
Winner, Bronze Award, York Park & Ride Electric Buses - First York
The York Park & Ride network, operated in partnership by City of York Council and First York, supports over four million journeys every year and is one of the UK's most used and environmentally friendly Park & Ride services. In fact Poppleton Bar is the UK's first all-electric Park & Ride route. Locally manufactured Optare buses offer a smooth, quiet, zero-emission ride into the city. Rapid chargers at Poppleton Bar provide a day-long charge to the buses' batteries, and offer electric car owners a chance to charge too. Electric Optare buses have replaced diesel buses at two out of the six Park & Ride sites helping to improve air quality, and it is planned to introduce double decker electric vehicles.
The judges said that in overcoming the issues around electric buses not being able to complete a full days operation without some re-charging, First York had produced a model for the operation of electric buses elsewhere. They were also impressed that the second batch of electric buses was delivered commercially by First Bus.
New Horizons Award sponsored by Passenger Transport
Winner, Bronze Award, VAMOOZ - Transdev Blazefield
Transdev Blazefield's VAMOOZ is a flexible and demand-led product with two core principles; go where you choose, and the more that ride, the less you pay. Customers use the VAMOOZ app to suggest routes for a regular service or one-off trips to events or destinations. Once a vehicle has been allocated and initial price set, the price per person reduces as more customers book onto the service. VAMOOZ has also helped identify several new routes which have become regular services. Transdev Blazefield has partnered with the company that created the technology and the two have developed it together. It is hoped that the system can be rolled out to other bus operators elsewhere in the country.
Although a relatively new scheme awaiting results over a longer period, the judges thought the scheme was sufficiently innovative to be the Bronze Winner.
The Award for Sustained Marketing Excellence sponsored by Exterion Media
Winner, Gold Award, 36: Riding. Redefined - Transdev Blazefield
Transdev Blazefield's route 36 is a market-led product based around continual improvement, research and engagement. The company has worked hard to create and nurture a brand that provides demanding customers with an assurance of quality previously unseen within the bus industry. Back in 2003 two men had a vision of leather seated buses. Everyone thought they were mad, but passengers disagreed - they loved them. The 36 has been constantly reinvented, year on year to achieve growth. First came twin-deck, high spec buses in 2003. Double digit growth followed. The 36 was revitalised in 2010. And riding was 'redefined' in 2016, with a ú3.3m investment in new vehicles, and an associated marketing and communications campaign. The 36 features many firsts for the industry - glass roofs, workstations complete with tables and USB charging at the rear, spacious 2+1 seating and a library on board. The 36 was the first bus service outside London to accept contactless bank cards, speeding up boarding times and removing barriers to travelling by bus. A passenger survey in January showed 97% of customers were satisfied or very satisfied, and 74% stated that they couldn't name anything they'd want to see improved! Fifty-six percent of customers could have used their cars, but chose the bus instead. And 77% of the 36's passengers don't ever use the train, the route's main competitor, with the monthly Harrogate to Leeds rail season ticket costing 52% more than the monthly pass for the 36, which includes travel on any other Transdev bus too.
Transdev Blazefield's route 36 has been refreshed once more in what the judges commented was an excellent team effort, led from the front. They were impressed with constant renewal over any years of this high quality service, and noted that the company has interesting plans for the future.
Top National Bus Driver: the Chris Moyes Memorial Award
Winner, Silver Award, Dale French - Transdev Blazefield
"Dale French is one of the most cheerful and outgoing people you could wish to meet," says his enthusiastic employer Transdev Blazefield. Dale drives out of the York depot and is loved by his customers. His background in tourism allows Dale to go beyond the traditional role of a bus driver by understanding he is there to provide a high level of customer service. A professional driver, he is keen to add to the company communications by engaging with customers one on one and even on his own twitter page to let his customers know what's happening. He is a regular driver on Cityzap, but relishes the opportunity to drive City Sightseeing for overtime. He is both passionate and interested in both the company and its customers.
The judges noted that Dales sees his role not merely to satisfy his customers, but to delight them. He readily adapts to the different kinds of customer interaction needed when driving the Cityzap or City Sightseeing services.
Young Manager of the Year sponsored by The Chartered Institute of Logisitics & Transport
Winner, Bronze Award, Ben Mansfield - Transdev Blazefield
Ben Mansfield joined the bus industry six years ago and worked across a range of disciplines, showing a flair for marketing. After turning around a failing company as Service Performance Manager, he took the skills he learned in service delivery into a marketing position at Transdev Blazefield, being promoted to Marketing and Communications Manager in the middle of last year. He appreciates the difficulties of day to day running of buses, and works with people to ensure that a marketing campaign delivers. He has also gained respect from the operations department by driving buses to photo calls himself, and has shown that he is willing tackle issues practically by assisting with graphics fitment. Ben goes beyond the role of a manager, and beyond the expectations of what an employer would expect of a person of his age and experience, a person who finds it easy to engage with directors and senior managers who have a significant experience advantage to him. He is determined and hard-working, and yet maintains a calm and friendly approach - which is perfect in the product-led business undergoing transformational change in which he works. He buys in to - and helped create - Transdev Blazefield's to be an 'Amazing Bus Company'. He continues to excel at all tasks thrown at him, and is passionate about the industry.
Ben impressed the judges with his ability to bring knowledge gained from an operational background, into his current role in marketing - where he is excelling - becoming a very good all rounder.