This is the "grand prix" of the UK Bus Awards.
Pre-eminent amongst bus operators in the UK, the UK Bus Operator of the Year, more than any other, delivers consistently excellent customer service. The company will demonstrate its success through sustained effort over the long term.
The crème-de-la-crème, the winner of the UK Bus Operator of the Year is selected annually from the highest-scoring contestants of the awards for Top Independent Operator, Top Shire Operator and Top City Operator. There is therefore no separate short-list for this category, and the winner announced at the Presentation Ceremony.
All these awards use the same criteria, which are described under the individual categories.
In selecting the overall winner, the UK Bus Operator of the Year, judges consider the different circumstances of operators of varying sizes and operating terrains: 'mystery traveller' assessments are very important and are often be a deciding factor.
UK Bus Operator of the Year
Gold Award Winner
Nottingham City Transport
Nottingham City Transport's strong track record of investment, growth and commercial innovation hugely impressed the judges - and the proof of the pudding came in some excellent mystery traveller scores. The Nottingham bus network continues to enjoy some of the highest ridership per head anywhere in England outside London. The company's successful partnership with the local authorities and other stakeholders has enable the business to grow its customer base for 13 years in a row, enabling it to create a virtuous circle of investment, growth, staff training and rising quality - despite the uncertainties caused by economic troubles and the disruption of tramway construction works. The judges praised these very significant achievements.
Silver Award Winner
The achievements of Reading Buses in the UK Bus Awards continue to be huge, despite once again just being pipped at the post for the title of UK Bus Operator of the Year. The margin of the results on the mystery traveller score was indeed very close. Even so, the company has won the title of Top Shire Operator for three years in a row, and been runner up in the overall national contest each time. The judges were once again hugely impressed by the company's proactive relationships with its local authority, customers and staff, and its commitment to environmental initiatives, not least in its major investment in both electric hybrid and gas buses. Any customer service business which achieves a 94% overall customer satisfaction rate, as reading did in the recent Passenger Focus survey is doing a seriously good job, and well worthy of recognition in this contest.
Bronze Award Winner
Ensignbus is in many ways a unique business, with is mixture of bus and heritage operations, with its fleet which blends the best of the old with a commitment to technological innovation, and its high levels of punctuality and reliability. This is challenging territory, with high levels of car ownership and major congestion problems. Despite this, the company continues to grow its market and achieve some excellent results in our mystery traveller checks.