Top National Bus Depot

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This award is designed to recognise and reward high standards of operation and customer care by bus depots and garages throughout the UK.

The Award is open to bus depots or garages that operate buses on local bus services outside London. For the purposes of this award, a bus garage is defined as an authorised operating base at which vehicles are both stabled overnight and maintained.

The 2014 Results

Promoting the bus in CrawleyGold Award Winner

Crawley, Metrobus

Since registering a commercial network in Crawley in 2001 when the existing operator declared that its current operations in the town were unviable, Metrobus' Crawley depot now operates a fleet of 135 buses throughout West Sussex, Surrey and Kent and employs some 350 staff. From a high level of staff training such as 'Going the Extra Mile', a strong social media presence focusing on Crawley depot operations, with 14,700 Facebook followers, to investing in real time information, the depot has an enviable reputation for quality, investment and customer service. The judges agreed the depot consistently sets standards for others to emulate.

Some of the team at GothamSilver Award Winner

Gotham, Nottingham City Transport

NCT prides the team at its Gotham depot for constantly go the 'extra mile' for their passengers, especially at a time when local residents face disruption and upheaval from road widening and tram works. Real-time tracking on all buses and measures such as re-writing timetables to reflect the disruption has helped the depot to run 99.6% of scheduled mileage, and keep around 90% of buses on time. From fundraising and sponsorship, to naming buses after local fallen heroes, NCT's smallest depot of around 45 vehicles and 100 staff goes to great lengths to continually look after its big, extended 'family' and the strong community links of this long-established depot particularly appealed to the judges.

The team at BlythBronze Award Winner

Blyth, Arriva North East

Blyth Depot of more than 150 staff prides itself on being an exceptional operation with outstanding commitment to its passengers, employees and the community it serves. Consistency is key to the operation which runs a fleet of 50 plus buses and lost mileage of just 0.26 and punctuality score of 87% in 2013 have seen its standards maintained. 'It's alive, it's electric' campaign, the sequel saw local people and drivers involved in promoting the new Arriva journey planner app which was rolled out first in the North East in January this year, and the judges were impressed by the depot's full engagement with the community as well as the level of service which Blyth continues to deliver.

Balfron depot in rural ScotlandFinalists

Balfron, First Scotland East

Balfron Depot is located in the heart of rural Stirlingshire. Services provided by its 30 plus employees allow customers in isolated villages to access local shopping, education and leisure facilities as well as commuter links to the major employment centres of Stirling and Glasgow with a fleet of over 20 buses. High operational standards and an understanding of customers' needs are central to the depot's efforts and lost mileage - a key focus given the dispersed nature of the customer base - has been 0.8 for the past two years. The judges felt the number of staff and its largely rural catchment gave Balfron a distinctive feel and they were impressed by the depot's team spirit and links with the local community.

Celebrating team work at Newport IoWNewport, Southern Vectis

Home to more than 400 staff and nearly 130 buses operating across the Isle of Wight, Newport depot has undergone an ongoing programme of listening and acting on feedback from its customers and staff over the past twelve months. The result is an increase in overall customer satisfaction of 5%, staff engagement by 12% and journey numbers by 4.9% year on year. Operating 99.82% of scheduled mileage over the past year has been achieved by proactive management of the network by the control team, who make extensive use of social media to keep customers informed of potential disruption via friendly and familiar messages. The judges were impressed that Newport is delivering consistently good standards across its operations.

Celebrating success at RotherhamRotherham, First South Yorkshire

Rotherham depot has been transforming its operation of more than 100 buses to deliver consistent and improved quality of service and significantly higher customer satisfaction under the slogan "Rotherham, where everyone matters." Following a rigorous attention to detail by the team of around 315 staff and having challenged every area where performance was in need of attention, one of Rotherham's biggest achievements has been a 20% improvement in punctuality over the last two years, reaching 93% in 2013. The team celebrated 2% year-on-year growth in customer numbers in December 2013 and 2014 has shown 3,000 extra journeys per week on the Rotherham network compared to the same time last year, impressing the judges with the progress the depot has made.

Who can be nominated?

In order to qualify to enter this award, a bus depot or garage must have an allocation of not less than 10 vehicles and operate not less than 500,000 kilometres per year on registered local bus services.

… and by whom?

We welcome nominations from all three categories from customers, authorities, user groups or bus operators. Self-nomination is acceptable.

Criteria and Entry Requirements

The award will be made to the garage which, in the opinion of the judges, delivers the highest operational standards to its customers. ntries must contain a full set of data against the following Key Performance Indicators:

  • Scheduled Annual Mileage
  • Lost Mileage, absolute and as a percentage of scheduled
  • Punctuality statistics (Number of departures operated, proportion measured and the percentage measured as “on time”, i.e. not more than one minute early and five minutes late)
  • Staff turnover (all grades, including engineering staff)
  • Annual PSV Test pass rate
  • Details of any warning or prohibition notices issued by VOSA in the previous twelve months
  • Customer Satisfaction and Mystery Traveller Survey results (if undertaken)
  • Driver Quality Monitoring Data (where undertaken)
  • Statistics regarding the volume and nature of public complaints

In addition, each entry needs to contain a submission concerning the depot/garage’s own work to:

  • maintain and improve operational standards
  • make contributions to local and global environmental objectives
  • develop and maintain a team spirit within the garage (e.g. sports and social clubs, etc)
  • play a positive role within the communities served (charity work, community involvement, sponsorship programmes, etc).

Finally, submissions should state whether or not there has been any Traffic Commissioner action in the three years prior to entry relating to the depot's operations, or whether any investigation, disciplinary hearing or known VOSA report is ongoing at the time of entry. If so, provide a full account of the matter(s).

Entries should address each of the above criteria to assist with the judging process, because non-transferable marks will be allocated for each of these criteria.

Short-listed garages will be subject to Mystery Travelling and other spot checks during the judging process. Judges reserve the right to request additional data, for audit purposes. Any such data will be subject to the strictest confidentiality arrangements.

Note that it is a condition of entry that any prize awarded should be collected by at least one member of front-line staff at the UKBA Presentation Ceremony. The winning garage will receive a cash prize which must be used to improve staff facilities at the garage.