Bus and the Community Award sponsored by Coach & Bus Week
Winner, Silver Award, Youth Express - Stagecoach West Scotland
The Youth Express is a joint partnership between Stagecoach West Scotland, East Ayrshire Councils Vibrant Communities and South Ayrshire Councils Community Safety Partnership to provide a mobile youth club for young people from rural communities across Ayrshire. The Youth Express is also used at community events across the region and is an important facility for tackling anti social behaviour and vandalism by providing a safe environment where young people can socialise, surf the web or play the latest video games. It is an ongoing project which has been in operation for over 10 years. The vehicle is provided and maintained by Stagecoach West Scotland which also supplies a dedicated driver for the vehicle. In November last year, the Youth Express was replaced with a newer vehicle and updated with the latest technology to reflect the changing needs of young people.
Although not an original idea, the judges picked out this scheme for the quality of its execution and the benefits delivered to both sides. They noted how how it has made the depot team more cohesive and better able to deliver their job roles.
Engineer of the Year sponsored by Institute of Road Transport Engineers
Winner, Gold Award, Paul Branigan - First Scotland East & Midland Bluebird
In his role as Engineering Manager for First Scotland East and Midland Bluebird, Paul Branigan has set Deans Depot in Livingston on a continuous improvement programme by adopting the First Bus Wrench Award System and through delivery of a '5S' strategy. The depot now operates at Wrench Award Gold standard, having passed through Bronze and Silver categories within 18 months. Paul has reduced lost mileage and the number of repeat defects, which is reflected in breakdown and recovery reduction. He has also been pivotal in improving maintenance standards, branding, vehicle cleanliness and customer comfort. Alongside this, Paul and the engineering team have become contributors to community activity through partnership with West Lothian College and other projects. The depot has also achieved ISO 9001 quality management and ISO 14001 environmental certification under his leadership.
The judges were very impressed with how Paul had turned around Dean's Depot, and especially the way he has built up a team of staff who now all support each other and continue to make improvements. They commented that Paul is a good advocate for continual improvement which is reaping benefits.
Environment Award sponsored by Volvo Bus
Winner, Silver Award, Bus 2020 - Lothian Buses
As one of the largest transport providers in Scotland, Lothian Buses is playing its part in achieving the Scottish Government's strategy of air quality improvements and aim to make a 42% reduction in greenhouses glasses from 2015 to 2020. Bus 2020 is Lothian's plan which affects all areas if the business as well as continued heavy investment in low emissions vehicles over the next few years. Waste was reduced by 20% in the first year, LED lighting is replacing existing lamps in offices and depots and three all electric vans have been introduced. Last year 30 Euro 6 vehicles were introduced to the Edinburgh City Tours fleet alongside a further 25 vehicles to operate route 22 which runs through two air quality management areas. By the end of this year, Lothian aims to introduce 30 more Euro 6 buses on city centre routes as well as 20 double deck hybrid buses and 15 single deck Euro 6 vehicles for its East Coast Buses subsidiary.
The judges commented that this entry shows that there is a lot of work that can be done within a bus business to deliver real environmental benefits beyond the emissions from buses.
ROSCO Award for Innovation in Road Safety sponsored by ROSCO
Winner, Silver Award, 'A Stone's Throw Away' safety film - Xplore Dundee
Xplore Dundee has created an innovative and educational safety film 'A Stone's Throw Away' in partnership with Scottish Fire & Rescue, Police Scotland, Connect 5 Offsite Learning Centre, Dundee City Council and Scottish Ambulance Service. The project was developed early in 2016 to tackle the ongoing problem of anti-social behaviour in the community, specifically the issue of young people throwing stones at buses and emergency vehicles. It was proposed that a DVD should be made, aimed at school pupils, which would clearly show them the potential consequences of stone-throwing and anti-social behaviour. The resulting short film shows a double decker bus targeted by a youth who throws a brick at the vehicle, breaking the window and injuring passengers. The bus swerves towards a young mum pushing a buggy, with catastrophic consequences. The film doesn't pull any punches when it comes to highlighting the damage done to human lives. Each organisation played its part in acting out the scenario - an Xplore Dundee bus driver skilfully drove a double decker along a blocked off area of road as it was 'stoned' and then swerved to emulate an accident. Fire crews and paramedics arrived in full gear, tending to the 'casualties' and deploying equipment to lift the bus and retrieve a 'casualty' from underneath. Police officers acted out the moment of giving bad news to a relative of the victim in the film. These representatives lent an air of authenticity to the film, to such an extent that some viewers are unaware that the film is a recreated scenario, rather than a real-life one. Figures show the number of reports of smashed windows experienced by Xplore Dundee has fallen since the launch of the film and all organisations involved have also expressed interest in repeating the project, targeting other issues of anti-social behaviour and personal safety.
The judges were impressed with the number of agencies that had worked together on this film that delivers a lot of impact. They thought that this idea could also be extended to light rail operators.
The Award for Sustained Marketing Excellence sponsored by Exterion Media
Winner, Bronze Award, Express City Connect - Stagecoach East Scotland
Stagecoach East Scotland's Express City Connect services operate across Fife, Perthshire, Dundee and Angus and extend to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Livingston. The routes are operated by luxury coaches, fitted with free wifi, air-conditioning, wheelchair lift, luggage lockers, CCTV, power and USB sockets. The majority of the fleet have leather, reclining seats and a toilet on-board and offer a comfortable and affordable travel option, appealing to commuters, day trippers and students. The varied target market requires extensive marketing to recognise and reach the range of customers who can benefit from the routes, create awareness of the range of luxury services available, help to align the product provision to customer aspirations and ultimately achieve modal shift and an improved customer experience. Tailored individual campaigns are carried out when specific developments take place and ongoing branding messages are also communicated throughout the year.
Continual development of its network, including the recent addition of two park and ride sites, investment in new vehicles and sustained marketing over a long time, were all noted by the judges and made Express City Connect a very strong contender in this category.
Top City Operator sponsored by INIT Innovations
Winner, Silver Award - Lothian Buses
Lothian Buses was the first operator in Scotland to offer real time service information on Google Maps, starting last year, after which the company re-designed its travel app with new features including departure times and the ability to share journeys on social media. Last year also saw ú6m invested in 22 new Euro VI, high specification double deckers. In the previous year, an extra two million passenger journeys were made.
Lothian Buses' service improvements were noted by the judges, as was it stepping in to make profitable routes where other operators had failed. It was good to see that Lothian operates it's social media channels throughout the night and that company profits were up.
Top Independent Operator
Winner, Silver Award - Prentice Coaches
Prentice Coaches is a family owned and run bus and coach operator based in Haddington, the County Town of East Lothian in south east Scotland. Established in 1991 as Don Prentice Coaches, originally and primarily a coach operator, it has also run bus services for most of that time and gradually expanding this side of the operation until it now accounts for over 60% of the business. Prentice Coaches is a forward thinking innovative company (it introduced live bus tracking in early 2013) that believes in running modern eco-friendly buses, kept in immaculate condition. It couples this with an old fashioned customer care ethos delivered by staff who take immense pride in delivering 21st century transport to its community. The company is not afraid to diversify and look for new opportunities, and it is a matter of some pride that in every single trading year the business has made a profit. Prentice also has a sense of duty to the local community, stepping in several times at short notice to replace essential local services cancelled by the previous operator. It did so again in August last, on a commercial basis, when no other operator was prepared to replace a service withdrawn by one of the major groups. It has taken those failing services, and by running new, attractive vehicles which are driven by people who take a great pride in their job, turned them around and made them profitable and substantially increased passenger numbers.
The judges commented that Prentice Coaches punches well above its weight for a small operator, offering its customers free wifi, developing it's own app and having a very effective social media presence. They were pleased to see the company take over routes abandoned by other operators at short notice and turning them around into profitable services.
Top Shire Operator sponsored by Ticketer
Winner, Silver Award - Stagecoach East Scotland
Stagecoach East Scotland carries almost 35 million passengers per year, has 1,300 employees and a fleet of over 460 vehicles. This si a mixture of town and rural routes as well as the Express City Connect network of high specification coaches. The company is one of the largest bus operators in Scotland, using strong working partnerships with local stakeholders to ensure service improvements and continual network development with effective results. Consistent growth in passenger numbers across the network has led to increases of frequency and influenced the purchase of new, state-of-the-art vehicles with a higher capacity to cater for demand. In fact the list of investment in new vehicles is quite extensive, including 18 electric hybrid double deckers for Dundee, seven more for Angus, 12 Plaxton Elite coaches for the Edinburgh - St Andrews route, and 19 new single deck buses Ballingry to Rosyth corridor. There has also been significant investment in ticketing and route planning technology.
The judges liked this well written entry and noted that both the company's urban and inter-urban services were well marketed and continued to expand. They were also pleased to see continued investment in new vehicles, which has no doubt helped the network's continued success.
Unsung Heroes Award sponsored by Backhouse Jones
UKBA Special Commendation for Outstanding Service, Martin Brand - First Glasgow
First Glasgow's Caledonia depot is the biggest in the UK and Major Repair Business Manager, Martin Brand, leads a highly skilled team of 26 staff at the depot's state-of-the-art Regional Repair Centre. Martin started as an apprentice in the bus industry 36 years ago and he has worked his way up to a management role. Martin and his team provide a vital support function with responsibility for the repair and maintenance of more than 1,350 vehicles across Scotland. The centre has developed high levels of self sufficiency in parts manufacture and has achieved unique recognised repairer status from Alexander Dennis and Wrightbus Customcare. Martin is constantly exploring new ways to innovate and achieve cost efficiency. One example is the mass production of pre-painted aluminium body panels for distribution across the Scottish OpCos. This initiative has enabled the team to speed up its response to business demands by cutting reliance on suppliers and reducing costs. A current initiative is working with suppliers to explore the environmental and economic benefits of using water-based paints in the vehicle spray booth, which again cuts costs and assists the industry through trialing new products. Working to the highest standards and returning buses to customer service in a timely and cost effective manner are core to Martin's day-to-day activity.
The judges noted Martin's sustained contribution to the bus industry over the past 36 years, starting as an apprentice, and working his way up to his current high level role in a large engineering centre.