Unsung Heroes Award
This category is presented every year to one or more individuals known for their hard-work, loyalty and devotion to duty.
In many cases, the ‘unsung heroes’ are the ones 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. In other cases, the heroes are people who help the wider industry through their work for supporting companies and organisations.
Winner, Gold Award: Jim Orr
Scottish Citylink Coaches
Jim Orr is the Stance Dispatch Controller for Scottish Citylink's flagship 900 service, which runs between Glasgow and Edinburgh 24 hours a day with a frequency at peak times of every 15 minutes. He works 12 hour days, Monday to Friday, and is responsible for the delivery of the 900 service to its timetable, which given the length of route, unpredictable traffic and congestion issues, together with day to day operational challenges, is not an easy task. His focus on both customers and ensuring the service operates as planned, is second to none. Jim was seconded to work at the 2012 London Olympic Transport Operations as a Service Delivery Supervisor in Stagecoach's successful media and athlete transport operations. He was also part of the dispatch team at the T in The Park music festival, which until 2016, had run every July delivering a network of coach services from the festival site to destinations all over Scotland. Jim's passion and enthusiasm, often without thanks, truly makes him an unsung hero in the UK coach industry. With Jim's helps deliver a dependable service which customers have come to rely on.
Jim Orr clears enjoys his job and the judges commented that he goes above and beyond what is expected to keep the 900 service running on time and suggesting improvements which would benefit customers, the essence of an unsung hero.
Winner, Silver Award: George Docherty
Belle Vue Manchester
When Belle Vue took over King's Coaches in 2012, George Doherty was one of its most trusted drivers, and it soon became apparent why. From cleaning the rest room to co-ordinating and facilitating a major event, his determination to get the job done leaves people in awe of his capabilities. He subsequently became Operations Supervisor, although George lends his hand to many departments. Wherever he can make a difference you will find George. After the terrorist attack in Manchester, Belle Vue was asked to provide the transport for the I Love MCR concert, transporting families of those affected. George took it upon himself to order the bee transfers, which had quickly become the logo for the I Love MCR charity, applying 22 bees, one of each person who lost their life, to the vehicles being used on the day. The vehicles were seen on social media and the TV news, and soon after, other operators and transport providers throughout Manchester were adding the bees to their vehicles. Whether he's dressed as Santa at Christmas or co-ordinating vehicles and drivers for a large event, everything is planned to the last detail and properly executed. As his employer says: 'Every company needs a George!'
The judges commented that George Docherty clearly loves what he does and is rightly appreciated by his customers and employer. The entry showed a lengthy record of achievement and good star quality.
Winner, Bronze Award: Merlyn Bryan and Ann Colley
As the UK's largest operator of scheduled coach services carrying over 19 million passengers, it is evitable that some luggage and other items belonging to National Express' customers get lost. That could be left behind on a coach or at a bus station, mistakenly taken by another passenger, stolen or offloaded incorrectly. Items can have financial, personal and sentimental value, with examples such as medication, documents, IT equipment, jewellery and photographs. All found items are returned to a central lost property office at the company's headquarters in Birmingham. Here, Merlyn Bryan and Ann Colley take all lost property enquiries and try to locate each item and re-unite it with its owner. Their combined efforts mean that around 75% of lost items are returned to very happy customers. This can sometimes be a challenge if the customer needs it urgently, or it is a long way away, sometimes abroad. They may contact stops en route, nearby shops and businesses, and other transport providers where passengers have made onward travel. If the items are not found, the team will handle letting the customers know the outcome and providing any necessary compensation, sometimes needing to deal with the Police and insurance companies.
The judges were impressed with the high percentage of items returned to their owners, demonstrating the hard work and effectiveness of Merlyn and Ann.
Who could be nominated?
Any person working for a coach operator continuously for the last 12 months, who can show service in a management and/or supervisory role of more than five years.
… and by whom?
Employers and other people active in the coaching industry were asked to nominate people within their own organisation or with another operator who, in their view, qualified for this recognition.