This is the award for operators the shire areas of the UK, covering all areas outside our major cities.
Winners: Warrington Borough Transport, Network Warrington
Warrington Borough Transport has transformed the quality of bus travel in the town, achieving customer satisfaction ratings of 98%.
Passenger numbers have been growing over a six-year period, with a 20% increase in the last two years. There is strong evidence of modal shift from the car, thanks to a clear commitment to excellent customer service through good staff training, partnership working, and a positive determination to succeed.
The judges were particularly impressed with company initiatives such as the Pride of Warrington awards for contribution to the community, the Independent Traveller wallet scheme for individuals with a disability, and the company’s investment in its staff epitomised by its Health MOT and annual personal development appraisals.
Runners Up: Reading Buses
This is another municipally-owned company that’s transformed itself in recent years. Evidence from talking with customers, giving feedback, consulting on the network, and developing strong staff relations has led to a consistent pattern of positive views about the company’s performance.
Good partnership working with Reading Borough Council has yielded infrastructure enhancements, and the completion of the company’s Premier Route network (including strong investment of its own) has helped Reading Buses achieve significant passenger growth, with evidence of growing modal shift.
The judges were impressed with the company’s entry, particularly how Reading Buses recognised where it still had weaknesses and the plans it was putting into action to address these.
Blackpool Transport Services, Metro Coastlines - simple, reliable, consistent
Blackpool Transport has delivered four record profits in six years whilst overall passenger numbers have increased by 18.5% in the past 7 years. PVR for bus services has increased by 31, as the company delivers a frequent, reliable, simple to use network backed by successful marketing, high standards, strong brand values and the world's first fully delivered ITSO Smartcards.
The Oxford Bus Company
Oxford Bus Company has been transformed into an efficient, cutomer focussed company serving the needs of its customers through high quality serivces and close partnership with local authorities. This has been achieved within one of the most competitive environments in the UK, delivering results for the company and more importantly, the 17 million passengers a year that use its services.
Stagecoach in Warwickshire
Stagecoach in Warwickshire is constantly striving to improve performance by continually identifying ares of potential growth, trialling new schemes, strengthening local relationships and local authority partnerships, improving customer service and staff relations and stringently maintaining its fleet of 200 vehicles.
Transdev Harrogate & District
Transdev Harrogate & District has again delivered a high quality of service, has grown customer journeys and maintained standards in respect of service reliability and customer satisfaction. Further investment in the business has supported the introduction of new commercial services and the scale and scope of marketing and promtional activity.
Transdev Lancashire United
Since being created in 2001, Lancashire United has become a profitable customer focussed bus company - achieving the successful launch of the Lancashire Way service in 2002 and the integration of Blackburn Borough Transport in 2007. The company has tripled in size since 2001 to 145 buses and 320 staff.
Who could be nominated?
This award was open to bus companies operating service networks wholly or mainly outside the major conurbations. Operators who are not subsidiaries of the plcs with fleets of less than 100 vehicles are recommended to enter the Independent Operator of the Year.
… and by whom?
We welcomed nominations from customers, local authorities, user groups or bus operators. Self-nomination was also acceptable.
Criteria and Entry Requirements for all Operator Awards:
The short-list has been selected on the basis of the quality of the submissions, which needed to:
- Show how the operator maintains and improves customer relations. For example how it uses:
- customer satisfaction surveys
- suggestion and complaint handling procedures
- customer newsletters
- State whether it has policies for specific customer groups, for example recognising disability and diversity
- State whether the company resolved any issues by reference to the Bus Appeals Body within the last three years prior to entry. The issues and the outcome need to be described
- Provide evidence of the company’s employee relations policies, including:
- equal opportunities
- employee development programmes.
- Provide statistics on timekeeping and lost mileage
- State any Traffic Commissioners’ action in the three years prior to entry and describe the company’s responses
- Provide information to demonstrate the financial sustainability of their activities. This could come, for example, from the most recent audited accounts for the two years prior to nomination and include:
- Capital investment: amount per £1,000 turnover; changes in fleet age profile
- Commercial performance: % operating profit margin
- Movement in reserves.
- Demonstrate the company’s approach to risk assessment in all its activities including:
- a commentary on Health and Safety issues for the past year, supported by reports on any significant incidents,
- showing how the company assesses the impact of its activities on staff, passengers and the general public and has monitoring and control measures to reduce risk and the level of the residual risks.
- Describe the operator’s approach to environmental matters and social responsibility.
- Submit evidence on matters such as any partnership working, describe how the company responds to the policies of its local transport authority and how it fosters and contributes to the life of the communities it serves.
- Show how the operator contributes to sustaining and expanding the market for public transport in their area, including joint working with local authorities and integration schemes. This should be supported by statistics to confirm patronage and revenue trends, and statistical evidence of modal shift.
Shortlisted entries will be assessed by “mystery travellers” to monitor the standard of service delivery.