Top Shire Operator, sponsored by Ticketer
An operator that has really been transformed in the last few years, the company’s emphasis on its network served by brightly-coloured, route-branded buses is coupled with a very strong focus on customer service and innovation. People who like people have been recruited to work in customer-facing roles and the company has put the passenger at the heart of everything it does. The judges particularly liked the fares initiatives, not least for young persons through its ‘Solo’ card, and its commitment to new technology. They felt Reading Buses was the standard to which other bus companies should aspire.
Top Independent Operator, sponsored by Scania
Celebrating its fortieth anniversary, the company puts its longevity down to hard work and placing a strong emphasis on its relationships with its staff and customers, as well as providing modern, attractive vehicles. Whilst in the past largely an operator of contracted services, Courtney continues to be a forward-thinking business evidenced by its significant recent move into operating commercial services, with such mileage increasing by 80% since the start of 2013. The judges liked the wide use of customer surveys and social media, on top of a very high standard of operation.
Joint Runner Up
Reading Buses – A Breath of Fresh Air
The judges were extremely impressed with Reading Buses’ comprehensive approach to the environment and sustainability. 38% of the company’s fleet is now very environmentally-friendly with thirty-one hybrid diesel-electric and twenty gas buses – and all other buses use bio-diesel fuel and an additive to improve consumption and reduce emissions. The depot roof has photo-voltaic cells to reduce electricity use and the staff are involved in a variety of smaller initiatives, ensuring that the commitment to sustainable transport is implemented across the whole organisation and not just focused on the buses. The company produced over 2,500 less carbon tonnes over the past year.
Putting Passengers First – The Claudia Flanders Memorial Award, sponsored by INIT
Reading Buses – Dedicated to Accessibility for Everyone
This was a truly all-inclusive approach to accessibility which, in the view of the judges, stood out for its simplicity. Whatever the customers’ age, with or without disabilities, Reading Buses is working to remove the barriers to bus travel to create a network that is totally accessible. The company has shown absolute dedication to excellent customer service. A whole range of initiatives, of which its ‘Solo’ scheme to attract young persons to travel is just one, have contributed to a significant growth in passenger numbers and revenue, and passenger satisfaction levels amongst the highest in the country.
The Young Manager of the Year Award, sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport
Simon Goff (First Berkshire)
Simon has worked his way up to the position of Chief Operating Officer at First Berkshire in just five years. While his priority is the best possible service delivery for customers, he also recognises the individual and collective roles of his team. His achievements to date have won him respect in the business and are all the more remarkable given his relatively short time in the industry.
The Unsung Heroes Award, sponsored by Backhouse Jones
Brian Dawber (Reading Buses)
Brian is Reading Buses’ Network Performance Manager, a role that was effectively created to harness his knowledge and enthusiasm. He takes personal responsibility for the quality and performance of the Reading Buses’ network, demonstrating real dedication, and brings out the best in others too. As his employer told us: “Customers are at the heart of everything we do and Brian keeps that heart beating!”