North West

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

The segregated route used by Vantage in Greater Manchester.Winner, Silver Award, Vantage - First Manchester and Partners

Transport for Greater Manchester's creation of the North West's first guided busway and First Manchester's Vantage services in 2016 has introduced a premium bus service that connects Leigh, Tyldesley and Ellenbrook to, from and through Manchester city centre's Oxford Road. The 4.5-mile guided busway section is supported with bus lanes along the remainder of the route reducing peak journey times by 20 to 30 minutes. The project is one of the two largest schemes in Manchester's bus priority programme, and includes three park and ride sites in Leigh, Tyldesley and on the East Lancashire Road, that collectively provide more than 400 spaces which are free to use by anyone continuing their journey by bus. First Manchester provides up to eight Vantage buses an hour along the busway. The fleet comprises 25 hybrid buses, providing free Wi-Fi, high quality seating complete with top deck table areas, real time audio and visual on-board information displays and USB charge points. In its first week, 28,000 customers used the service which has almost doubled to 50,000 within a year. Twenty percent of passengers said they had stopped using their cars for the same journey and had actively switched to the bus since April 2016. More than half said they had access to a car either as a driver or passenger, but still chose the bus.

The judges were pleased to see that the scheme was achieving substantial modal shift, also helped by the use of better quality vehicles. They also noted that the new services were especially effective when linked with the bus priority measures on the East Lancashire Road.

The Award for Marketing Initiative of the Year sponsored by Bus & Coach Buyer

Eye-catching leaflet aimed at football fans.Winner, Bronze Award, Come on you red men! - Stagecoach Merseyside Cheshire and South Lancashire

As part of Liverpool Football Club's planning consent for the Anfield stadium extension, a key requirement was that the additional 8,500 seats did not require any additional car journeys, so the football club engaged with Stagecoach MCSL to see if a well planned matchday bus service could meet this requirement from the planning department. The 917 service already ran on Liverpool FC home matchdays with four buses running four return journeys. The enhanced service would see this increased to 16 buses running on a continual loop for as long as was necessary at each home game. Of course, planning and providing the service was only half of the battle; people going to the match needed to know about the enhanced service and feel compelled to choose bus over car travel. It was identified that fans often travel as small groups, so Stagecoach MCSL introduced a new return ticket for four adults. Further research showed that boarding for the return journeys was a slow process, not only due to the sheer volume of fans exiting the stadium at the same time, but also because many were purchasing single tickets both ways. This was addressed through a marketing initiative that offered a 'buy one, get one free' on a pie or a pint at Anfield Stadium upon production of a return ticket for the 917 at the match. The overall uplift in patronage on the service was 194% against the previous season, significantly exceeding the 50% target set at the outset of the project. Across the season, the total revenue on the 917 service increased by 202%.

Having achieved modal shift, the judges thought that this was a scheme that other operators across the UK could repeat for sports fixtures and special events.

The Award for Sustained Marketing Excellence sponsored by Exterion Media

A 555 bus with a Windermere steamer - two iconic images of the Lake District.Winner, Silver Award, 'Lakes Connection' 555 service - Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire

The Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire 555 service operates between Lancaster and Keswick, through the Lake District Park National Park, serving key destinations such as Kendal, Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere. Tourism in the Lakes presents a drastic change in population during the summer months. This requires the marketing of the advantages of the service to those in the local area, bringing people in from Lancaster and Keswick, but also to stand out and attract those unfamiliar with the area who may be visiting for the day or weekend. Sustained, consistent and clear marketing of the service is a necessity to its success, as its route, frequency, cost and experience need to be communicated to a new audience each and every season. All social media platforms are used to promote the service, as well as more conventional leaflets and roadside publicity. The launch of 12 new vehicles in July last year was an opportunity taken to fully utilise the bus to promote the 555 service through eye catching branding and Stagecoach is continually looking for new ways to promote the service to encourage the public to leave the car at home or holiday accommodation.

In what the judges described as a well written, model entry, the judges thought this was an example of best practice for a rural bus route. Sustained investment and marketing with plans for future development should secure a future for this service.

Top City Operator sponsored by INIT Innovations

Marking the launch of contactless travel on Stagecoach's network in Manchester.Winner, Bronze Award, - Stagecoach Manchester

Stagecoach Manchester employs almost 2,400 staff and has invested ú122m in new vehicles over the past ten years, including the introduction of 53 new Euro VI double deck buses last year. Contactless payments are available on the whole fleet and account for 9% of on-bus transactions, a figure that is steadily increasing, alongside mTickets and cash. Most of the fleet has free wifi and new buses have USB charging. Over 10 million wifi sessions were recorded last year, a 42% increase on the previous year. A new mobile app offers journey planning, live bus information allowing passengers to track their bus in real time, and mTickets.

New routes, good value fares and the introduction of some new vehicles were all noted favourably by the judges.

Unsung Heroes Award sponsored by Backhouse Jones

Stagecoach Manchester's Stuart Roughley.UKBA Special Commendation for Outstanding Service, Stuart Roughley - Stagecoach Manchester

Stuart Roughley was appointed Operations Manager for Stagecoach Manchester in 1998 and has worked at three of the company's largest depots in the city. His current role is at the Stockport garage where he leads a team of 425 drivers, 10 allocators, four managers and two administrators. An inspiring leader, Stuart has set the standard for fellow Operations Managers to follow. He earns respect from all who come across him for his fairness, integrity and knowledge. Stuart has developed into one of the most passionate, knowledgeable and experienced Operations Managers in the industry and is credited with mentoring many of the bus industry's leaders in their first formative years as a trainee. He's coached a company record of 14 management trainees including a number who now hold senior positions - one Chief Executive, two Managing Directors and nine Operations Directors, quite an achievement!

The judges described Stuart's entry as impressive. It documents his contribution over 20 years, often in difficult circumstances, at several depots, which is now being recognised.

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

Stagecoach Manchester's Mark Mageean.Winner, Silver Award, Mark Mageean - Stagecoach Manchester

Mark Mageean was appointed Operations Manager at Stagecoach Manchester's Wigan depot in autumn 2014, following his successful turnaround of the company's newly acquired Middleton depot where Mark created a 'family' atmosphere, finding ways to meet the needs of employees such as offering flexible working that met both the needs of the business and individual staff. In his current position at the Wigan depot, Mark demonstrates an analytical approach to managing punctuality issues, using feedback from staff and customers along with analysing GPS data to make improvements to punctuality. Well known as a friendly and approachable leader, Mark is well respected among staff where he's worked. He's a firm believer that you should not expect people to do something you would not be prepared to do yourself and makes sure that he goes out driving in service at least a couple of times a month. His industry knowledge, commitment to delivering the highest standards of customer service combined with his management skills and personality makes him a great asset to the company.

Mark impressed the judges with his turn around of the Wigan depot, and they think he has bright future ahead in the bus industry.

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