Luke Rees-Pulley was passionate about buses throughout his life, which was tragically cut short by murder when he was only 25. 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 each year.
Winner, Gold Award
Dean Golding - Go-Ahead London
Dean Golding has been a valuable member of Go-Ahead London's team at its Belvedere garage for more than 12 years, and has worked in the bus industry for over 20 years. He has always been a flexible and amiable person willing to go that extra mile and first to put himself forward to help others, gaining himself a high level of respect from his colleagues and management for his knowledge and approachability. Dean always gives his time to assist others and is an intelligent and conscientious worker with an excellent attendance and clean disciplinary history. His driving standards are high and customer service skills are excellent. He supports charity work and has done several events putting his body through some torturous treatment to raise funds for good causes. Dean can also be seen helping out with various projects around the garage. A recent example is that a garden area introduced for the drivers to relax in and here Dean is often spending time weeding and irrigating the plant areas, clearing litter and other rubbish all in his own time and with no prompting.
The judges were impressed with Dean's consistently high standards over 20 years of service. He goes out of this way to help passengers and colleagues alike and is especially good at supporting new drivers. An impressive number of commendations have been received from customers praising Deans driving and customer service skills.
Winner, Silver Award
Terry Miles - RATP Dev London
"Terry Miles is just the kind of driver a customer hopes to find at the wheel of a bus," says his employer, RATP Dev London. "Smart, knowledgeable about the capital, aware of performance issues such as bunching, and always mindful of the safety of his customers, Terry embodies all the best attributes of the London bus driver," it adds. Terry is based at the Stamford Brook garage, and passengers find they instantly warm to his gentle charm, making him approachable and keen to please. If journeys take longer than expected, Terry makes a point of using the intercom to keep his customers informed of the situation such as when there are roadworks or delays caused by an accident. He finds that if he is proactive and tells customers there are problems ahead then they are generally understanding and appreciative of the effort to keep them informed. It's clear that Terry enjoys his job and is proud of what he does.
The judges noted that Terry is a driver with almost 20 years service and an exemplary driver combining excellent customer service with driving skill. Undoubtedly an asset to the business, Terry is a good ambassador for the bus industry.
Winner, Bronze Award
Nadine Allen - CT Plus
Nadine Allen has been a driver for CT Plus for nine years and is based at the Ash Grove depot. She regularly goes the extra mile for passengers and sets an example of customer service to her peers that would stand out in any industry. "Nadine combines the best of customer care with the highest driving standards to ensure that the whole experience of travelling by bus is a first-rate one for our customers," says her employer. This is exemplified by a professional, positive attitude in the workplace and evidenced by outstanding driving assessments, and commendations from managers. "We believe she is credit to CT Plus and the profession itself," the company adds.
The judges were impressed with Nadine's professionalism and customer service skills as a driver. She makes a point of greeting passengers as they get onboard and thanks them when they touch in as well as making sure that everyone is seated or holding a handrail before she pulls away.
Felicia Grazette - Abellio London
"Felicia is everything that we look for in a bus driver," says her employer Abellio London. "She is a committed member of the team who goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the travelling public enjoy a safe, reliable and comfortable journey." Felicia works with drivers at her Battersea depot in an informal coaching role and has also supported the depot in training drivers on how to deal with wheelchair users. She is a great ambassador for the industry and has been involved in a number of TfL initiatives, including featuring in training and induction videos, attending a buggy summit, giving her voice for the new on-board announcements and being part of a radio advertising campaign to broaden the public's view of the job of a bus drivers. She also works with schools and is a qualified Transport Youth Engagement Officer, a role that involves educating children how safely travel on buses.
The judges praised Felicia's 'can do' spirit and the very wide range of activities in which she has been involved from voicing next stop announcements and radio commercials to giving talks to children and being an advocate for elderly and disabled passengers, all alongside her regular day job as a skilled bus driver.
Helen Webster - Arriva London
Enfield garage's Helen Webster regularly goes above and beyond her usual expected duty as a bus driver. She is conscientious, hardworking and considerate to her colleagues and customers, which is reflected in the commendations she regularly receives. Helen regularly represents Arriva London at commercial events and she also assists the driver training department by taking a bus to visit schools with disabled children to help them understand the role of a bus driver. In addition, she recently attended a local school for World Book Day and read the children stories from the book 'The Naughty Bus' as well as several singalongs with the children. Helen has also been used for bus driver recruitment adverts and can be seen on the side of the company's training vehicles.
Helen's additional work with schools is what stood out with the judges on top of her driving duties, though that's just scratching the surface of what else she done.
Richard Pincombe - Arriva London
Richard Pincombe has worked for Arriva London for almost 15 years and has become a valued member of the Barking garage team. In the first half of this year, he has received two commendable Mystery Traveller reports which highlight his excellent customer service skills and the pride he takes in delivering a good service. He also received a positive driving observation report from AA Drivetech in which the assessor reported that Richard's drive "was smooth throughout and comfortable for the passengers with good lane discipline" and that he "acknowledged passengers as they boarded and stopped close to the kerb at bus stops". These positive reports led to Richard being nominated for the Arriva London Bus Driver of the Year competition.
The judges commented favourably on Richard's driving ability and his willingness to participate in projects around the garage and beyond, such as recording a radio advertisement for TfL.
Peter Huttly - Go-Ahead London
Although he has only been a bus driver for three years, Go-Ahead London driver Peter Huttly has made quite an impression on his passengers and colleagues. "We have a individual here at Orpington who cares about the role as as a driver and cares about delivering a good service to every passenger he meets," enthuses his employer. Based at the company's Orpington depot, he is known as an approachable and friendly member of the team helping to make the garage a welcoming environment for everyone. He has an exemplary attendance record with no time off in the entire time he has been with the company. Peter steps in when others are off sick and helps cover the open work and Peter has had no accidents or collisions.
Clearly Peter is a valued member of staff and the judges hope that he will maintain his high standards for the year ahead. Customer commendations were excellent and support he has given to colleagues is greatly appreciated.
Hirji Hirani - Metroline Travel
Already Metroline Travel's Driver of the Year 2016, Hirji Hirani is dedicated to the job and is a welcoming and friendly face around the Cricklewood depot. He is polite, friendly, very hard working and respected, and decided by his managers and colleagues as an ambassador for bus drivers. Hirji always reports for work on time, is always proud to wear his uniform, and ensures that he delivers the highest and most consistent levels of customer service and driving standards to his passengers. He is consistently the highest scorer across all Metroline garages on its driving telematics system and is very dedicated to providing a smooth, welcoming and safe journey for his passengers.
Drivers that give their passengers a smooth ride are just what the industry needs, and the judges noted that Hirji Hirani is such a driver and worthy of the recognition he has received.
Who could be nominated?
All London bus garages were 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, were alsdo 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