The UK Bus Awards will turn 25 next year and much has happened over the past quarter of a century.
But never before has the industry the awards celebrate seen so much change and innovation, with everything from new, cleaner drivetrains, to ride-hailing, on-demand services and driverless vehicles become ever-more prominent.
So, when leading figures from the UK’s bus sector gathered in London last week for this year’s event, it wasn’t just the usual categories that were up for grabs. The audience also found themselves applauding the winners of Cultural Change award for the very first time, and other honours for the likes of environmental performance and road safety.
UK Bus Awards Director, Steve Cresswell said, “The awards are operated on behalf of the industry, so behind the awards is a management panel of 12 members, who are picked to fairly represent all areas of the industry.
“Change and innovation has been at the top of our agenda at the UK Bus Awards team for some time, but 2019 saw the continued introduction of new categories to reflect the changing face of the industry, in particular, the Cultural Change category.
“We also trialled new and innovative way to enter the awards, especially looking towards social media.”
Steve continued, “The Cultural Change award was a category that we considered very carefully before we introduced it.
“We had to ensure the award adequately reflected the desired culture of the industry, and that it accurately embodied the whole scope of the diversity within it.
“In the end, the category was very hotly contested and National Express West Midlands took Gold for the clear and inspirational message they send to the industry through their staff empowerment projects.”
Fittingly, for an award celebrating cultural change, the inaugural award was presented by Sonya Veerasamy, CEO of Women in Transport.
Steve continued, “It was important for us have this inaugural award presented by an organisation in tune with Industry progress
“Although currently women represent just 20% of the workforce within the industry, this number is rising year on year, so as the industry becomes ever-younger, more inclusive and more ethnically diverse, it is important that our awards reflect this change.”
Another recent change to the awards is the shift in focus from corporate success to human success.
Steve explained: “The UK Bus industry is ultimately driven by it’s people and the passengers.
“By building an awards ceremony that concentrates on the individuals that make up these corporations, we aim to celebrate the stories behind the operators, and in doing so, promote the industry as a whole, on a human level.
“Ultimately we raise awareness outside the confines of the bus industry, especially among passengers.”
The biggest winner at this year’s awards was Nottingham City Transport, which won five honours, including the highly contested ‘best in show’ category, UK Bus Operator of the Year and Top National Bus Driver.
Stagecoach UK Bus also won big, with a breathtaking 13 awards. The company’s outstanding performance saw them take home four golds, five silver and four bronze.
National Express West Midlands won the inaugural Cultural Change Award for its Master Driver scheme, which recognises driver excellence.
Here’s the full list of winners:
UK Bus Operator of the Year sponsored by Gallagher and QBE Insurance
Gold: Nottingham City Transport
Silver: Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire
Top National Bus Driver: the Chris Moyes Memorial Award, sponsored by Volvo Bus
Gold: Jatinder Kumar, Nottingham City Transport
Silver: Keith Thomas, First Cymru
Bronze: Gurnam Singh, Stagecoach West
Top City Operator sponsored by INIT Innovations
Gold: Nottingham City Transport
Silver: Brighton & Hove Buses
Bronze: Stagecoach Manchester
Top Shire Operator sponsored by Ticketer
Gold: Stagecoach Cumbria & North Lancashire
Silver: Stagecoach East Scotland
Bronze: Oxford Bus Company
Top Independent Operator sponsored by Omnibus
Silver: Prentice Coaches
Bronze: Courtney Buses
Top National Bus Depot sponsored by Personal Group
Gold: Blairgowrie, Stagecoach East Scotland
Silver: Reading, Reading Buses
Bronze: Swindon, Go South Coast, Swindon’s Bus Company
London Bus Garage of the Year sponsored by TfL
Gold: Norwood, Arriva London
Silver: Romford, Stagecoach London
Bronze: Croydon, Go-Ahead London
Top London Bus Driver sponsored by TfL and Luke Rees-Pulley Charitable Trust
Gold: Wasiq Ali – RATP Dev London
Silver: Nick Kukaj, Abellio London
Bronze: Peter Huttly, Go-Ahead London
Making Buses a Better Choice: The Peter Huntley Memorial Award sponsored by Heathrow
Gold: Translink – Glider
Silver: Oxford Bus Company – PickMeUp
Bronze: First West of England – metrobus Bristol
Bus and the Community sponsored by CBW
Gold: Oxford Bus Company – Brand the Bus!
Silver: Translink – Stuff a Bus
Bronze: Metroline – School Library Bus
Gold: The Harrogate Bus Company – Harrogate Electrics
Silver: Stagecoach South – Guildford park & ride electric buses
Bronze: Go South Coast, Bluestar – The UK’s first air filtering bus
Gold: National Express West Midlands – Master Driver
Silver: Oxford Bus Company – Cultural Change Journey
Bronze: Stagecoach West – West Wellbeing
New Horizons sponsored by Passenger Transport
Gold: Abellio London – Mobileye
Silver: Omnibus – CrewPlan
Bronze: West Berkshire Council – Newbury e-paper next bus pilot
Marketing Initiative of the Year sponsored by Bus and Coach Buyer
Gold: Stagecoach Yorkshire and PARTNERS – Stimulating senior bus travel
Silver: Visit Isle of Wight – Explore by bus
Bronze: Lothian – Cruiselink
ROSCO Award for Innovation in Road Safety
Gold: Arriva Yorkshire – Driving a strong safety culture
Silver: Abellio London – Mobileye
Bronze: Translink – Glider driver training programme
Sustained Marketing Excellence sponsored by Global
Gold: First West of England – Going for Growth
Silver: Uno – People Against Ordinary
Bronze: Stagecoach East Scotland – Express City Connect
Leader of the Year, sponsored by Euro Bus Expo 2020
Gold: Damian Bannon – Translink
Silver: Raj Chander – Arriva Midlands
Bronze: Urvi Patel – Abellio London
Engineer of the Year sponsored by IRTE
Gold: Stephen Stringer – Warrington’s Own Buses
Silver: Jack Abbott – Stagecoach Manchester
Bronze: Paul Slaney – Translink
Unsung Heroes sponsored by Backhouse Jones
Gold: Shelia Swift – Nottingham City Transport
Young Manager of the Year sponsored by Metroline
Gold: Jack Abbott – Stagecoach Manchester
Silver: Kerrie Grant – Go South Coast, Bluestar
Bronze: Adam Green – Arriva Kent and Surrey
Services to the Industry Award, sponsored by Buses Magazine
Mark Fowles – Nottingham City Transport