Sponsored by the Luke Rees-Pulley Charitable Trust and Transport for London
Luke Rees-Pulley was passionate about buses throughout his life, which was tragically cut short by murder. The trust founded in his name seeks to rekindle the pride and status of bus drivers in the capital to the levels seen in the 1930s - when to be a bus driver was to be a respected professional providing an essential service. This award is part of that process, recognising and rewarding top-quality service and commitment.
This award is presented to the London bus driver who has best demonstrated excellent performance from the customer perspective in the 12 month period to the end of June 2015.
The 2015 Results
Winner, Gold Award, Viva Aikins - RATP Dev London
Viva Aikins is one of RATP Dev London's most respected drivers, based at Shepherd's Bush garage. She carries out her job with flair, professionalism and great skill. Highly regarded by customers and colleagues alike, she has established herself as an indispensable member of the garage team. She embodies all the attributes desired in a London bus driver and is a great role model. Viva gets an enormous amount of satisfaction in helping people and resolving any queries or questions they might have. She is particularly adept at assisting elderly customers and less-able bodied people and is careful to ensure they are seated before pulling away. Having learned to sign the alphabet, Viva is able to help customers with hearing and speech difficulties; she also knows basic German (and elementary French) and makes a point of keeping up-to-date with these two languages because of the high number of tourists she carries on her bus. Viva is a good team player and believes it is crucial for everyone to 'look after one another'. Controllers find her cheerful, 'can do' approach an enormous help to them in doing their difficult jobs. Viva has a sharp awareness of the business side of garage operations and takes a keen interest in how the garage's performance compares to others. She's a stickler for maintaining headways and, like anything else about Viva and her job, has perfected it to a fine art.
With her first-class driving skills, helpful nature, professional appearance and great approach to customer service, she epitomises everything one expects from a London bus driver so the judges considered Viva Aikins to be the worthy winner of the Gold award.
Winner, Silver Award, Kingsley Tomlin - Metroline West
Kingsley is an exemplary employee and a driver for Metroline West at its Willsden Junction depot. He has received numerous commendations for his actions, helping his passengers, politeness and professionalism. He is eager to serve and engage with his passengers, whether it is greeting them as they board, or keeping them informed of any service disruptions by getting on the PA system - and his passengers really appreciate this. Kingsley is a shining example of outstanding customer service, pride and passion, and that being a professional driver requires more than just giving a smooth ride. He has also been commended by his manager for being a role model with his smart appearance when reporting for duty, friendly disposition and willingness to assist when called upon. His Drive Green scores when driving in service are excellent.
For all these reasons the judges felt that Kingsley is a deserving winner of the Silver award.
Winner, Bronze Award, Peter Growns - Go-Ahead London
Go-Ahead London's driver Peter Gowns' manager says that he is an invaluable member of staff: as a mentor he willingly passes on his vast knowledge, experience, driving and communication skills to new drivers in an unassuming and understated fashion that immediately puts people at their ease. He is an Institute of Advanced Motorists trainer/assessor, coaching many drivers through their public service vehicle test. His cheerful disposition allows him to get his points across in a friendly informative manner. Supervisors find him to be a flexible and willing worker. In teh company's 'disability transport awareness bus days' he helps the less able in learning to cope with the day to day challenges of using public transport. Peter has further expanded his role by working with the community on the company's open days.
Peter Growns relationships with both passengers and staff set a shining example of how a driver should conduct himself at work. The judges are therefore pleased to award Peter the Bronze trophy.
Finalist, Ezeta Coleman - Abellio London
Abellio London's Ezeta Coleman is said to be an absolute gem of a driver at the Battersea garage, always polite and smiling, she's also flexible and hard working to boot. Consistently smart and wearing her uniform with pride Ezeta is a smooth and safe driver who is consistently courteous and friendly to all of her customers, greeting them as they board her bus, using the PA system when appropriate and waiting for people running for the bus. Her record shows a number of Gold Tickets handed out by managers travelling on her bus and four box 1 driving assessments - the top score attainable. Ezeta is incredibly reliable with no sickness or absence in her 15 years working with her company - an impressive record combined with a flurry of top notch driving assessments - she really is a Top London Bus Driver!
Finalist, Myat Han - Abellio London
Myat Han loves her job as a London bus driver for Abellio London at the Twickenham depot: she takes pride in her contribution to the communities she serves and makes sure that every journey is as good as it possibly can be. Her customer service is second to none and she makes sure that every journey is as good as it possibly can be. As a result, Myat has received several customer commendations: comments have included: ôShe is always happy and brightens the passengersÆ dayö and ôPolite and courteous - it's always a pleasure to travel on her busö. Myat takes her responsibilities very seriously and has an excellent record in all areas of her employment. She is always ready to help her peers in any way she can and is held in high esteem by her colleagues. Her manager says that Myat is an inspiring role model who showcases what being an outstanding London bus driver means.
Finalist, Richard Burton - Abellio London
"Richard demonstrates our values every day," says his employer Abellio London. "Through simple acts of kindness and compassion he ensures that he looks after his customers to the best of his ability. His humanity is clear to see and yet he's humble. Richard's actions are exactly what we'd like all our drivers to show and more. He's a real credit to the company."
Finalist, Abdullah Bin Masood - Arriva London South
Abdullah Bin Masood is based at Arriva London's Brixton garage, and his previous experience in the retail and training industry has certainly played its part in him being recognised by many colleagues as a shining example to not only new drivers but also to the veterans amongst the driving fraternity. His enthusiasm and drive to deliver a better service to his customers is regularly rewarded with a commendation. His customer focussed approach has seen him receive no less than eight customer commendations. He is highly thought of by his supervisors where one said, ôAbdullah is an absolute pleasure to work with. He is flexible, reliable, polite and helpful and always has a smile on his face. He will do anything at a momentÆs notice and is happy to help by agreeing to change his scheduled duty at a moment's notice. He is a real star.ö
Finalist, Yvette Singh - Stagecoach London
Stagecoach London driver Yvette Singh is passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated about her work. She takes her role as a Driver, Mentor and Acting Garage Clerk at Catford incredibly seriously, and always strives to represent the very best that any driver can be. Yvette is always understanding and sympathetic to any driver that approaches her for guidance. Not only is this self evident in the way she engages with her customers and colleagues, but also her willingness to help promote the perception of buses in the various ambassador roles she undertakes. Since joining the industry in 2005 Yvette has made it her personal objective to be the very best in everything she does so as to promote the most positive image of bus travel. An active participant in supporting activities such as a disability forum, ambassador at the Year of the Bus Cavalcade and playing a strong part in TfL's '100 Years of Women in Transport film', Yvette epitomises everything that is good about the bus industry in London.
Who could be nominated?
All London bus garages are eligible to submit nominations for their best-performing drivers based on:
- Mystery Traveller reports Driving Standard Assessment reports
- Public Commendations
- Driver Monitoring (Internal) assessments
- Accident record
If necessary other areas of performance, including discipline and attendance, will be considered.
The winner of the Top London Bus Driver prize will be the individual who best represents the customer’s ideal:
- a driver who is friendly, helpful, conscientious, mindful of passengers’ comfort and wellbeing – in short, a true professional and worthy ambassador for the job