The award for operators the shire areas of the UK, covering all areas outside our major cities.
2013 Winner: Reading Buses
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.
Runner Up: Stagecoach South West
Another company that has come a very long way in the last few years, Stagecoach South West has continued to concentrate on network stability and partnership working with investment in new routes and vehicles, and by aligning with the tourism industry laying strong foundations for continued growth and success in the region. In what has traditionally been a high fares area, the judges were impressed with the fares initiatives and marketing concepts such as ‘Hop12’, as well as the company’s close relationship with bodies dealing with the interests of those with physical and mental disabilities.
With a reputation for taking over and making a success of failing bus networks, Metrobus has seen unprecedented growth on its services throughout West Sussex, Surrey and Kent over the last twelve years. It is the operator of the highly-acclaimed ‘Fastway’ service and an industry pioneer in the use of social media. The judges were again impressed with how dedication and an eye to detail, coupled with understanding passengers’ needs and communicating with them successfully, has brought passenger growth and financial success to the company in areas that are not traditionally good bus territory.
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.
Travel De Courcey
A company that has demonstrated that there is still place for a local, family-owned business based on traditional values but combined with industry-leading levels of service, technological innovation, and a dedication to the reduction of carbon emissions. Considering the extremely rapid growth of the company over recent years, the judges were impressed that this had been achieved without losing sight of the basics of good bus operation and staff relationships, evidenced by the very high passenger satisfaction levels and extremely low staff turnover.
Who could be nominated?
This award was open to bus companies operating service networks wholly or mainly outside the major conurbations.
… and by whom?
We welcomed nominations from customers, local authorities, user groups or bus operators. Self-nomination is acceptable.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
The results were determined on the basis of the quality of the submissions, which need 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.