Shire Operator 2007

This award was open to operators with fleets of over 100 vehicles operating wholly or mainly outside the major conurbations (for which see City Operator of the Year).

The winner of this award delivers consistently excellent customer service. The company will demonstrate its success through sustained effort. The winner showed how it is financially sound, maintains high operational and engineering standards, gives priority to the Health and Safety of its staff and passengers through comprehensive risk management, invests in its fleet and its staff, forms effective partnerships, identifies with and responds to the communities it serves and always strives to sustain and grow the bus market.

Winner: Stagecoach in Cambridge

Stagecoach in Cambridge has seen significant growth over a sustained period with 77% passenger increase on the Citi network over 5 years. Significant modal shift has been achieved. Further expansion through ‘kickstart’ and improved operational performance means the company is a strong performer The judges felt that this was one of the best examples of partnership in practice, showing just what can be achieved by a progressive bus company and enlightened local authority working together. The growth in passenger ridership during the last five years has been at a comparatively small cost to the public purse. In turn this has brought improved profitability for Stagecoach in Cambridge and ongoing substantial investment. Significant also is the change to the profile of the passengers travelling – given the right product, car users can be attracted to the bus as Cambridge has shown. Future developments in the area provide the opportunity for further substantial growth to benefit the partners and the environment.

A distinctive livery for one of Stagecoach Cambridge's double deckers used on a park and ride service

Runner Up: Warrington Borough Transport

Warrington Borough Transport has transformed the quality of bus travel in Warrington through excellent customer service based on determination and partnership working. Passenger numbers are up one million from last year (13.2% growth), customer satisfaction is at 98% and 63% of new bus users have converted from the car. The judges were impressed with how much this operator had achieved in a short time. With extremely high customer satisfaction ratings, Warrington Borough Transport has transformed the quality of bus travel in the town through excellent customer service based on strong commitment, staff development and partnership working. There is evidence of strong modal shift, not least through a reduction of 15% in morning peak congestion in the town. The company’s work with young people, and on climate change also impressed the judges.

A bus in Warrington

Highly Commended:

Blackpool Transport Services

A modern double decker from the succssful Blackpool operationBlackpool Transport has delivered three record profits figures during the past five years whilst overall passenger numbers have increased by 12.73% in the past 6 years with 5.92% being achieved in the past year. Peak Vehicle Requirement for bus services has increased by 23, as the company delivers a stable, sustainable, well-marketed bus network with low fares and a steady increase in patronage. The judges observed that Blackpool is a traditional municipal bus company that has undergone something of a transformation in recent years. The company has delivered substantial passenger growth and record profits in the last five years by concentrating on a frequent, reliable, simple to use network backed up by successful marketing, high standards, strong route branding and what is claimed to be the world’s first fully-delivered ITSO smartcards.and environmental issues were also praised.

Stagecoach West Scotland

Stagecoach West Scotland consistently delivers excellent customer service by investing in its people, fleet, services and marketing. It continues to develop effective partnerships to help sustain and grow the bus market in the west of Scotland and plays a vital role in the communities it serves. The judges commented that this was another very strong entry from last year’s overall Bus Operator of the Year. The company has continued to deliver excellent customer service and to develop effective partnerships. A number of new service initiatives were introduced during the past year leading to further significant passenger growth. The judges were particularly impressed with how the company was encouraging citizenship by working with young people, in particular through its Youth Express and Wee Gee Buses, and its “Vamoose to Vandalism” programmes.

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Transdev Harrogate & District

Harrogate & District Travel has continued to invest in the business and has achieved 11% growth during the last 12 months. The company has strong informal partnerships with local authorities, has continually achieved well above average levels of customer satisfaction and has invested heavily in the training and further development of its staff. An award-winning operator over a number of years, the entry was nothing less than the judges have come to expect from this quality bus operator. The entire fleet is now equipped with Automatic Vehicle Location equipment bringing a major benefit to operational reliability. The priority given to staff development and welfare, not least the compulsory occupational health checks for all staff, shows a company genuinely interested in the well-being of its staff. Complimentary fruit being provided to all staff on a daily basis particularly appealed to the judges.

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The Oxford Bus Company

Oxford Bus Company advocates high-quality public transport and has achieved a remarkable increase in business and modal share through investment, staff involvement, partnership with local authorities and its local community. Celebrating its 125th anniversary, the company has modernised itself to compete in the deregulated era. With its initiatives like Star Rating, and investment in Euro 5 vehicles before they are required by law, Oxford Bus Company has continued to demonstrate that it is at the leading edge of public transport developments. Spurred on by the competition for bus passengers in the city, Oxford Bus Company has maintained its increase in passengers and modal share through investment.

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