UK Bus Operator of the Year, sponsored by Belmont International and QBE Insurance
Stagecoach Manchester carries some 100 million passengers a year on its network of services mainly to the south of the city, covering Tameside, Stockport, Trafford as well as Manchester and Salford - though it has recently expanded into the north of the conurbation with operations in Wigan and Middleton. The company runs from depots in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester (2), Middleton, Stockport and Wigan.
The company reports twelve straight years of patronage growth, and continues to invest in new vehicles, improved services and a range of exciting ticketing products. The business is working on the development of the UK's first ever commercial park and ride site, at Hazel Grove near Stockport. The strong company ethos for delivery of growth whilst maintaining services levels means that the business also consistantly achieves an overall customer satisfaction rating of 83 to 85% and runs at more than 98% reliability and 88% mid-route punctuality (measured independently).
The judges were impressed by a record of achievement which has completely transformed the company - and the reputation of the bus in Greater Manchester - in recent years. They noted the strong partnerships that have been achieved with local highway authorities and Transport for Greater Manchester, praised the company's efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and were hugely impressed by a very strong performance in the mystery travelling.
Top National Bus Depot, sponsored by Personal Group
Bolton, First Manchester
Bolton depot has built on already strong foundations to show excellent performance and employee engagement over the last twelve months. The team spirit in this large depot, which runs key routes into Manchester city centre, has contributed to sustained improvement in reliability, punctuality, the pass rate for VOSA annual tests, staff sickness levels and other key performance indicators, figures for all of which impressed the judges. The judges also noted the charity and community initiatives taking place, not least the strategic partnership with the Fire Brigade and the Police to reduce the number of collisions and passenger injuries.
Southport, Arriva North West & Wales
Southport is one of six depots that make up Arriva Merseyside. A depot with a unique sunny seaside outlook, impressive contract retention, and Arriva’s Manager of the Year at the helm, investment in fleet and in staff communication has resulted in impressive customer and employee satisfaction survey results. The judges noted the focus on service delivery, reinforced by a comprehensive monthly ‘ride around’ by managers, and they liked the concept of ‘fleet champions’ to ensure that the buses look well cared for. All this helps the garage to be very proud of the service operated and the team behind it.
Top City Operator, sponsored by BAE Systems
Stagecoach Manchester has a consistent track record of delivering excellent service to its customers in what is not the easiest of operating areas. In the past year it has continued to invest in its fleet, service enhancement, and its commitment to environmental issues. Coupled with the way it has grown passenger numbers over many years, not least students and other young people, by innovative marketing whilst still maintaining an industry-leading financial performance, the judges felt that the company can be justly proud of its workforce at all levels and what they have achieved.
Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire
Since the acquisition of Glenvale Transport in 2005, the company has turned round the previously failing Gilmoss Liverpool depot with a commitment to a programme of continuous investment in its staff, fleet, premises and services. Customer service and partnership working are now priorities in order to continue the growth of the business. The judges were extremely impressed with what the company had achieved in what was still a relatively short time, taking the operation from one which left a great deal to be desired both operational and financially to one with which the Stagecoach Group could now be justifiably extremely proud.
Top Shire Operator, sponsored by Ticketer
Transdev Burnley & Pendle
Transdev Burnley & Pendle has a record for making bus travel as seamless as possible and an integral part of life in East Lancashire and beyond. Its high quality service and performance each day stems from a constant and consistent interaction with its stakeholders and the communities in the area. The visual impact of its ‘Starship’, ‘Mainline’ and ‘Witch Way’ vehicles, both externally and internally, helps to promote the dynamic service offered and the company’s achievement in maintaining its very high standards in the face of a difficult local economy was an important consideration for the judges.
The Eureka! Award for Marketing Initiatives
First Manchester – Save Manchester
Following an historic reduction in patronage and revenue due to a pricing model which concentrated on short-term returns, leading to a perception of the company providing poor value for money, First Manchester trialled significantly reduced fares to maximise patronage with the objective of providing the foundation for stronger longer-term customer growth. The initiative was supported by a strong marketing campaign which, the judges noted, had led to a significant increase in passengers, the results demonstrating a campaign return on investment of 5:1 and including a 3% modal shift from the element that targeted motorists.
The Chris Moyes Memorial Award for Top National Bus Driver, sponsored by Traffilog UK
Phil Millard (First Manchester)
Phil works on the Manchester Metro Shuttle service, a tendered service on behalf of Transport for Greater Manchester, and both partners and customers have commended him for his professionalism and exemplary customer service. He has been a driver with First and its predecessors for 35 years and is still keen to learn and improve, making him a perfect role model for younger drivers.