This award is presented to the coach driver who has best demonstrated excellent performance from the customer perspective in the 12 month period to the end of December 2015.
To win the title of Top UK Coach Driver, nominees need to go that extra mile to provide the customer’s ideal: a driver who is friendly, helpful, conscientious and mindful of passengers’ comfort and well-being – in short, a true professional and worthy ambassador for the job.
Winner, Gold Award: Glyn Bowden, Edwards Coaches
Passing his PSV test in 1976, Glyn Bowden didn't join Edwards Coaches in Pontypridd, South Wales, until 2005. Since then he's been a big hit with his work colleagues and customers. Last year, for example, he was voted Employee of the Month five times by his colleagues and received the award for the most compliments from customers. His exceptional driving and customer service skills mean that the company puts all their new tour drivers with Glyn for his assessment and to pass on his wealth of knowledge and experience. Initially only speaking 'Wenglish' (a mixture of English and Welsh), Glyn is now fluent in French, German and Italian as he realised that on previous trips abroad, the language barrier could be an obstacle, so he is now able to communicate easily with local medical staff should a passenger become ill.
The judges were impressed with Glyn's dedication to his job and his willingness to help bring on new tour drivers to be good ambassadors for the company. He is also willing to learn new skills himself which will enable him to provide a better experience for his customers, with whom he is as popular as with his work colleagues. A worthy Gold Winner.
Winner, Silver Award: Brian Davis, Motts Travel
Brian Davis joined Aylesbury-based Motts Travel in 2012 following the demise of the Bowen Travel Group and quickly rose to the top of the company's driving team. He generates more commendations and requests for his services than any other driver, and customer feedback demonstrates that he goes above and beyond what is expected of a good driver, whether he is on a school run, a private hire, one of our own tours or a professional sports team, he is popular across the board with all our customers. Brian is the first PCV driver to have been nominated for a Pride of Bucks employee of the year award last year. Brian is a great ambassador for Motts and has a clear understanding of the bigger business picture. He represents the company effectively when away from base and can be trusted to articulate the ethos of the business. Even in the face of the odd breakdown, passenger feedback reflects how well the situation was handled by Brian not the negativity of the breakdown itself.
The judges commented on the number of customer commendations Brian receives from such a wide customer base. They also thought it was good that he had been nominated for an award outside the industry as drivers often do not get the recognition they deserve. Brian will be recognised as the Silver Winner this year.
Winner, Bronze Award: John Gilbody, Belle Vue Manchester
Former Greater Manchester Transport bus driver John Gilbody joined the industry in 1975, transferring to the coaching side for a summer season, during which he received so many commendations, that he was asked to stay on permanently. Since joining Belle Vue he has brought his wealth of knowledge and driving experience to the company. "He is friendly, helpful, conscientious and always mindful of passengers' comfort and safety," reports his employer. Now reaching retirement age, and working reduced hours, John has offered to produce training materials for new drivers.
The judges noted the large number of commendations from customers which made John's entry stand out. He is clearly a professional and popular with colleagues and clients alike, making him a worthy Bronze Winner.
Finalist, Mark Pierce - Anthony's Travel
Mark Pierce drives for Runcorn based Anthony's Travel and joined the company five years ago having previously been a bus driver. Anthony's were immediately impressed with Mark's first class driving skills, his flexibility, eagerness to learn and general conduct. He's also very popular with the customers. "He's not just a coach driver, but a brand ambassador for Anthony's," says his proud employer.
Finalist, Steve Rudman - Cairngorm Travel
Steve Rudman joined the industry 17 years ago and now drives for Caingorm travel based in Goole, East Yorkshire, where he is described by his employer as the "cornerstone of our driving staff." Steve always places the needs of his passengers first and has become a much-requested driver by private hire groups. He has never marked a vehicle in the five years he has worked for the company.
Who could be nominated?
Any licensed PCV driver in full-time employment, who has been in continuous employment on coach services for the 12 months ended 31 December 2015.
…and by whom?
Nominations were sought from group organisers and other coach hire clients for the coach drivers they consider worthy of this award and from employers.
In the case of public nominations, UKCA organisers then sought further information from employers and the consent of the driver concerned to their name being put forward for the award.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
As well as nomination by customers, entrants have been assessed on their technical and professional skill. Evidence of this was required and could include:
- The nominee’s accident record
- Number and duration of safe driving awards won by the nominee
- Technical and professional skills, as evidenced by such items as internal driver assessment reports or marks achieved in a company, regional or national competition held at the coach rallies or other events.
In addition to the skills section, short-listed entrants for the Top UK Coach Driver award were assessed on:
- Public Commendations
- Disciplinary record
In short, the winner of the Coach Driver of the Year prize goes to the individual who best represents the whole range of professional and customer care skills required for this important and highly demanding job.