15 November 2022

Blackpool Transport is celebrating after winning the coveted UK Bus Operator of the Year Award at the UK Bus Awards in London. The company was also named the winner of the Gold Award in the Top Shire Operator category before fending off competition from Diamond Bus North West and Hertfordshire-based operator Uno to win the top gong in the Grand-Prix competition that pits the winners of the Top City, Top Shire and Top Independent Operator Awards against one another.

Blackpool’s win followed a pause by the industry’s premier awards scheme over the last two years as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. People, projects and bus operators came together at Troxy, London to once again compete for the top awards across 22 categories at the scheme’s first in-person presentation ceremony held since 2019.

It was the perfect birthday present for Nottingham City Transport bus driver Jonathan Smallman. He took the gold in the Top National Bus Driver: The Chris Moyes Memorial Award category, marking the fourth time a bus driver from the council-owned bus company has won the gold at a UK Bus Awards ceremony.

In the capital, Go-Ahead London’s Koli Begum enthusiastically took to the stage to take gold in the Luke Rees-Pulley Award for Top London Bus Driver category and there was more good news for the London operator as its Putney garage received a gold in the London Bus Garage of the Year category.

Stagecoach is also celebrating after scooping seven of the top gold awards. Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire’s Barrow depot was named winner of the gold award for Top National Bus Depot, sponsored by Integrated Solutions, and Stagecoach East took the gold in the Supporting the Environment category, sponsored by CitySwift, for its ‘Big Switch Off’ campaign. Meanwhile, Lesley Hester of Stagecoach Manchester proved that not all heroes wear capes when she won the coveted gold in the Unsung Heroes category, sponsored by Backhouse Jones.

In the Young Manager category, Hayley Russell from FlixBus UK took the gold ahead of silver award winner Zachary McAskill from Stagecoach Manchester. The bronze in that category went to talented Stagecoach London engineer Ben Houghton.

Meanwhile, Jim Thorpe, managing director of Uno was the gold winner of the Leader of the Year award. In this category Stagecoach South East boss Joel Mitchell took the silver with the bronze award bagged by Samantha Teggart of Abellio London Bus.

Transdev also had some notable successes, taking golds in the Buses for Pleasure sponsored and Culture Change categories. The Harrogate-based firm also took silver awards in the Marketing, Partnering for Delivery and Supporting the Customer Experience categories.

Alan Millar, Chair of the UK Bus Awards, said: “After a tumultuous couple of years as a result of the pandemic, it’s fantastic to see the dedication, creativity and excellence of the UK bus industry have not diminished. We are particularly pleased to have celebrated the best in the business, from small, family-owned businesses to the very large multinational transport groups, including several who entered the scheme for the very first time.

“We’re honoured to have been able to recognise and celebrate the industry’s successes, achievements, innovations, dedication and sheer brilliance. All those celebrating today should feel proud that they have played their part in helping to deliver a first-class experience for bus passengers across the UK. From everyone at the UK Bus Awards, we would like to say a huge congratulations to everyone involved.”

There’s a full list of results here, and pictures from the ceremony here.

Notes to Editors:

  • The winner of the UK Bus Operator of the Year was selected from the highest-scoring contestants of the Top City Operator, Top Independent Operator and Top Shire Operator Awards.
  • The UK Bus Awards has been recognising, rewarding and inspiring since 1996.
  • The Award for Services to the Bus Industry recognises a significant and sustained contribution to the success of the industry by an individual who has consistently gone beyond the call of normal duty to improve and promote the bus industry for its users or the wider community over a period of years. This award is made by the UKBA Management Committee which will assess the nominee’s length of service and record of achievement.
  • The awards are independently judged by expert panels, ensuring integrity and transparency.
  • The UK Bus Awards is committed to embracing and promoting innovation, inclusion and diversity within the bus industry.

For further information, please contact Andrew Garnett.

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