Making Coaches a Better Choice

Like all forms of passenger transport, coach travel relies on others to help make the journeys it provides for customers as comfortable, efficient and prompt as possible.

Highway authorities, coach parking provides, terminal operators, local authorities and tourist attractions all have a role to play in making life for coach passengers as comfortable and convenient as possible.

This award is designed to recognize and reward projects, big or small, which genuinely improve life for coach operators, coach drivers and their passengers.

The judges were looking for a scheme, project or partnership that achieved one or more of the following:

  • improved the provision of an existing coach product
  • improved passenger facilities for coach passengers
  • provided a genuinely innovative new service
  • improved services to coach passengers through new infrastructure or facilities giving faster, more comfortable and/or more reliable journeys.

The Results 2019

Winner, Gold Award: Stagecoach East Scotland and ADL

Low floor coaches

Stagecoach East Scotland has invested £5.2m in 19 innovative new coaches to operate on parts of the Express City Connect network. First of their kind, these coaches are unique in that almost half the vehicle's seating is on a low level, allowing easier access for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues. The vehicles include all the high quality features typical of the Stagecoach Express City Connect network, including leather reclining seats, free wifi access and charging points. The coaches were designed by ADL Plaxton in consultation with Bus Users Scotland and disability groups, creating an innovative design.

With something that could bring coach travel to a large number of travellers who have previously not considered it due to the difficulty of getting on an off a high level vehicle, the judges thought this was a very worthy gold winner. They particularly noted the consultation with disability groups and bus users, as well as the manufacturer, in getting the innovative design just right.

Winner, Silver Award: Shearings Holidays

Wifi and Roadshow

Working with Icomera, the wireless internet provider for passenger transport, Shearings has equipped 135 coaches in its fleet with wireless internet which is free to use for all passengers. The system ensures that customers can stay connected while travelling in areas of poor connectivity or on the continent. In conjunction with the wifi network, Shearings has also introduced Roadshow, a bespoke and easy to use entertainment system featuring some of the latest films, TV programmes, e-books, magazines, audio books and games, which customers access on their own devices connected to the vehicle's wifi.

The judges were pleased to see what they think is the first application of this technology in the coach tour sector. It is good to see that Shearings was keeping up with technology, making coach travel more attractive to a younger audience.

Winner, Bronze Award: Carnforth Station Heritage Centre & Leighton Hall

Brief Encounter with Leighton Hall

Following a trial run in 2017, Carnforth Station Heritage Centre teamed up with nearby Leighton Hall to bring group and coach parties a unique experience at two complementary, award winning attractions. Visiting the Carnforth Heritage Centre in the morning, customers discover a range of exhibition areas, and the famous Refreshment Rooms where part of the iconic David Lean film 'Brief Encounter' was shot. Then it's off to Leighton Hall, home of the famous Gillow furniture making family. After a light lunch or afternoon tea, guests enjoy a fully guided house tour, the beautiful grounds, and weather permitting, a birds of prey display on the lawns. Over 1,400 customers enjoyed the package last year, exceeding expectations. An even greater take up is expected this year. Having achieved a bronze award in this category last year, the two venues felt that the success of their joint venture deserves further recognition in 2019.

The judges thought that this was a good example of two attractions responding to what customers were asking for, and working together making visiting by coach an attractive option and achieving modal shift. Clearly customer agree with numbers ahead of expectations for the first year of operation.

Finalist: Oxford Bus Company

Revitalising the airline and X90

In an increasingly challenging and competitive market, Oxford Bus Company's complement of coach services - the airline and X90 Oxford to London - have continued to adapt in order to remain relevant. Whilst the airline services to Heathrow and Gatwick airports have remained strong, the overall market for travel between Oxford and London has been diluted by increased competition from rail. This, coupled with growing congestion around and within London, has meant that the company has had to innovate extensively in order to do more with less, whilst still promoting itself as the most comfortable way to travel.

Finalist: Stagecoach South West

Discounted taxi travel

Stagecoach South West has teamed up with one of Exeter's leading taxi firms to provide a 10% discount on fares for journeys that take customers to the stop for the South West Falcon service from Exeter to Bristol Airport. Passengers previously had limited options including driving with their luggage to one of the Falcon's stops at park and ride sites, or getting a lift. Now the arrangement with Exe Cars provides a discounted 'door-to-coach' service, which has proved to be very popular. A further deal with a taxi company in Dawlish is now being considered that would offer the possibility of through tickets between Dawlish, Teignmouth and Shaldon, towns that are seven miles away from Exeter.


Who could be nominated?

The award was open to operators, local authorities, partnerships, tourist and visitor attractions or other organisations.

… and by whom?

Nominations were welcomed from all eligible organisations, and self-nomination was acceptable.

Criteria and Entry Requirements

The award will be won by a project, or a change in practice, designed to improve accessibility for any group of people. The entry must demonstrate the improvements gained, that the project goes beyond minimum statutory requirements and that it is supported by endorsements from those who benefit most.

Entries were ranked on the basis of the submissions made, which needed to:

  • Describe the problem(s) that the project was designed to solve.
  • Describe the project and how it was implemented
  • Explain the extent to which accessibility issues were considered
  • State how the project or service was promoted
  • Show how the outcome was monitored and describe any changes made as a result of the monitoring.
  • Supply evidence of the results of the project (e.g. patronage or other appropriate indicators).
  • State whether the results likely to be sustainable
  • Describe any future plans for further development.
  • Include any relevant supporting material.

Search this site

The logo of our parent company, Transport Events GroupAll material on this web site is copyright. Copyright © UK Coach Awards Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

The UK Coach Awards scheme is organised by UK Coach Awards Limited

Albion House, Rope Walk,, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1ED

| Tel: 0330 010 3460 |


UK Coach Awards Limited is a company registered in England & Wales No 06814616. Registered Office: as above.


Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.

Cookies on the UK Coach Awards website

We use cookies to ensure we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the UK Coach Awards website. CLICK HERE to read more about our Privacy Policy and about the use of Cookes