Unsung Heroes

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This category is presented annually to one or more individuals who perform junior or middle management roles in the industry and are known for their hard-work, loyalty and devotion to duty.

In many cases, the ‘Unsung Heroes’ are those who keep the wheels turning against all the odds; no transport operator can do without such people – even though they often slave away for years with no recognition save their own satisfaction in a service delivered and a job well done, whether they work for the operator or the local transport authority.

Above all, the ‘Unsung Hero’ will be someone who demonstrates the importance of ensuring that the services are delivered for the passenger and for the local community.

Winner, Gold Award, Martin Davis - RATP Dev London

Martin Davis has helped bring numerous criminals to light through his meticulous work in running RATP Dev London's CCTV department. Martin's role is to track down people who assault drivers or damage buses, but what makes him an unsung hero in his company's eyes is that he has become a dependable, indispensable source of information to the Metropolitan Police Service for non-bus crime. He manages a team of four full-time analysts and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the CCTV. Around 40% of Martin's work is police related and involves liaising with the police about crimes committed on and off the bus. Following the attempted second bombing in July 2005, Martin carried out a huge amount of work in assisting the police and a straight 36 hours with two offices checking footage and helping to piece together events. Martin's commitment and dedication to making public transport safe for the travelling public is commendable in the eyes of RATP Dev London and he gladly works many extra hours for his job - it is his way of contributing something to the community.

The judges considered Martin to be the epitome of the Unsung Hero - his rigorous monitoring of CCTV day in, day out has even had a national effect. Martin is, in a way, a detective who stands out not only for dramatic issues but for the for the minor incidents and lost property - which is why he has won this category.

UKBA Special Commendation for Outstanding Service

Darren Kendrew - East Yorkshire Motor Services

Darren Kendrew has risen from being a bus driver to Training Manager for East Yorkshire Motor Services (EYMS) entirely through his own efforts and enthusiasm and with no previous experience of training. In the eyes of his company, has contributed hugely to the success and reputation of EYMS. Leading a team of five instructors with five training vehicles, Darren is responsible for all aspects of driver and related training in the company of around 700 staff with 400 drivers. He organises the syllabus for each course and module, oversees drivers working for NVQ level 2 and very recently qualified through CILT to deliver Transport Manager CPC training. It is almost entirely due to Darren's efforts that EYMS' training division has developed so successfully in the last few years. The company's driver training clients now include over 70 firms and organisations including local authorities, the police and P&O Ferries. Darren thoroughly enjoys working in the industry with colleagues and customers alike. A course he has taken particular pride in is Customer Care and Disability Awareness, and he now has additional responsibility (taken on largely voluntarily) for overseeing and auditing EYMS' driver hours, tachograph records and Tachomaster compliance. He represents the company on the CPT Training Committee and has worked closely with DVSA and DVLA on recent policy developments. Darren also produces very comprehensive monthly reports, and other operational managers and supervisors look to him for advice and guidance on driver hours and record keeping.

To realise this degree of success in a relatively large company of 700 employees and to have developed the training division to such a high degree is a huge feather in Darren's cap and impressed the judges very much with the scale and nature of his achievement. They praised the undeniable impact which Darren has made on EYMS and its reputation having worked his way up with buckets of enthusiasm along the way.

UKBA Special Commendation for Outstanding Service

Clive Norman - Stagecoach West

Clive Norman started working for Stagecoach West in 1961 at the age of 19, when the company was known as the Bristol Omnibus Company. Clive has worked his way up through the ranks from Conductor to the Wages Office then to Schedules Manager where his job is to ensure schedules and timetables of approximately 250 buses for 500 drivers are complete for Stagecoach West. The company consider that Clive has taken Stagecoach West to first and second places for most efficient duties within Stagecoach UK Bus for the past ten years. His employer praised Clive by saying "the accuracy and timeliness of getting the job done is crucial and Clive always delivers with minimum fuss. The overall efficiency of duties within the company is consistently at the top end within Stagecoach UK Bus and Clive's ability to achieve this cannot be understated".

The judges felt Clive's tireless efficiency within a vital aspect of the delivery of bus services was very impressive and they praised Clive for his long service and dedication to Stagecoach West.

UKBA Special Commendation for Outstanding Service

Mike Saul - Yellow Buses

Mike Saul, or rather 'Magnificent Mike - the Helpful Chap in the Hi Vis', is described as the face of Yellow Buses by his company. He patrols the busy bus terminus in Bournemouth's square every day, come rain or shine, in his Hi Vis uniform enabling visitors and passengers to obtain travel information and assistance about Bournemouth and the surrounding area. Mike's role is to ensure the smooth of operation of Yellow Buses through the busy town centre which sees bus movements every few seconds across a number of operators. More than managing the services' entry and exit onto stands for all operators, Mike is a veritable encyclopaedia of all things Bournemouth, buses and the surrounding areas. Mike started with the company in June 1987, became a Supervisor in 1991, and has been Yellow Buses' Town Centre Supervisor since 2011. Mike still keeps a hand in with bus driving - and is always on hand to help out on busy days, during major events and incidents. Endlessly cheerful, his colleagues cannot speak highly enough of Mike, and his renowned customer service is even highlighted on the Bitesize Bournemouth seminars run by the National Coastal Tourism Academy. It is no surprise that Mike has won awards with Yellow Buses because of the feedback regularly through the company's customer services office, and was recipient of the Yellow Buses Star of the month award.

The judges were very impressed by the quality and depth of Mike's customer service as well as the sheer scale of coverage he deals with. They praised his enthusiasm to go out of his way to help people and brighten their day.

Highly Commended

Kevin Richardson - Arriva North East

"In his role as Operations Manager of Arriva North East's Newcastle depot, Kevin Richardson oversees the successful delivery of a punctual and quality bus service for the people of Tyne and Wear," says his employer. "He plays a key part in making sure that his customers get to where they need to be comfortably and on time. Kevin is always on hand to help customers, colleagues and stakeholders, whilst always being very modest about the outstanding support he offers," it adds.

David Ellam - Centro

"Even though David Ellam has only worked for Centro (the West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority) for just three years, he has spent a lifetime at the sharp end of the public transport industry and brought that wealth of experience to his role as a Wolverhampton Bus Station Supervisor," says his employer. "He is universally respected by peers and the customers he assists every day."

Jean Scott - First Glasgow

"Around 40,000 pieces of lost items are found on First Glasgow's fleet of 950 buses every year," says the company. "Each day 59 year old Lost Property Assistant Jean Scott goes to extraordinary lengths to return items to their owners."

Stephanie Daniel - RATP Dev London

Stephanie Daniel is Internal Audit Manager for RATP Dev London, but it was for her secondment to develop and implement a new duty allocation and payroll system that prompted the nomination. "This system is the mainstay of the company," says her employer. "Stephanie's dedicated work on this project makes her a true 'unsung hero'," it adds.

Bob Jackson - Stagecoach South

With over 40 years experience in the bus and coach industry Bob Jackson has led a successful and noteworthy career with Stagecoach South and its predecesors and is currently Operations Manager at teh Portsmoith depot. "Bob's approachable, fair and financially shrewd management style has certainly not just been kept solely with him; he's an excellent teacher, guide and mentor to many individuals in the industry at all levels," says his employer. "Although he is not one to actively seek the limelight we would like to see Bob's unsung dedication recognised."

Albert Gibson - Transdev Harrogate & District

Consummate busman Albert Gibson started on the buses in 1965. "Fast-forward a half-century later and he's still here," says his employer Transdev Harrogfate & District. "Albert is serving and delighting the travelling public with ever-youthful spirit as our ambassador in Harrogate bus station, whatever the weather. He's a loveable figure, a friend to many and a hero to the bus industry, bus passengers and the wider population of Harrogate," it adds.

Natalie Bessaad - Transport for Greater Manchester

Natalie Bessaad is a Customer Service Support Officer based in Transport for Greater Manchester's contact centre where she helps and advises bus users on a daily basis. "Aged just 19 she has shown great maturity and professionalism in one of the most high profile customer service roles since joining TfGM as an apprentice," her employer says.

Specially Commended, Neil Rettie - Stagecoach/Transaid

Neil Rettie is Road Safety Project Manager for Transaid on secondment from Stagecoach, for which he has worked since 1996. Based in Tanzania and working in often difficult conditions, Neil has delivered significant benefits including managing a capacity building programme which has trained thousands of bus drivers in Tanzania and the development of a national training curriculum for the East Africa community. Transaid's driver training programme, led by Neil, works to ensure that driving standards are improved and to advocate for legislation endorsing these improved standards through mandatory training. Neil is now busy working on an instructor's manual and key training materials. He started his career in 1996 as a Stagecoach driver and then became a Relief Supervisor at Inverness. When the company looked to create a driver training function at Inverness, Neil was the man for the job and he supported training in Elgin, Aberdeen, Perth, Dundee and Kirkcaldy as well as in Inverness. Neil has helped to build a model of support that is quite rare in an international development context. He rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck in, but never disempowers or takes over the work of local partners. Humble by nature, Neil still insists he is just a bus driver trainer.

The judges were very impressed by Neil's passion for providing skills to keep bus drivers safe and the scale of his achievements. This bus driver trainer is now influencing training standards across six countries in Africa and advising the World Bank to international donors.

Who could be nominated?

Any person working for a bus operator or local transport authority continuously for the last twelve months, who can show service in a management and/or supervisory role of more than five years.

… and by whom?

Senior managers in both operating companies and local authorities were asked to nominate people within their own organisation or with another operator or local transport authority who, in their view, qualified for this recognition.

Criteria and Entry Requirements

The award is made on the basis of the quality of the submissions made, which needed to set out:

  • The nominee’s length of service
  • The nature and extent of their current responsibilities
  • The consistency of the nominee’s record of achievement
  • The sustainability of the entrant’s contribution.