Quality and commitment celebrated at UK Coach Awards
Over 50 individuals, companies and organisations across the UK coach industry were recognised and rewarded for their excellence and good practice at the sixth annual UK Coach Awards, which took place on Thursday 10 April 2014, at Manchester's famous Mercure Piccadilly Hotel.
Outstanding winners were the NEG subsidiary The Kings Ferry, who won two awards. First the company won the title of Top Large Fleet Operator, and the team's evening was completed when the Kent-based company was named as UK Coach Operator of the Year, a judgement based both on customer nominations, performance data and detailed scrutiny by the independent judging panel. With their partners at uTrack Software Solutions, The Kings Ferry also scooped a Technology & Innovation Award for their dynamic Real Time Information system.
he Gold for Top Medium Fleet Operator went to Bournemouth-based Excelsior Coaches, for the third year in a row, in a compeitition for between 16 and 50 vehicles. The Gold Award for Top Small Fleet Operator also went to a previous winner - in this case, Bognor-based Woods Travel.
The Top UK Coach Driver was named as Andy Daw, from Warwickshire operator Johnsons Coach & Bus Travel, where his skill and professionalism ensure that he's in heavy demand from the company's regular customers. The company also scooped two other Gold Awards in the Coach Marketing (SMEs) and Coach Travel Programme categories, whilst Lewis Jacklin from the Henley-in-Arden traffic office was given a Commendation for Outstanding Service in the Unsung Heroes category.
The Gold for Coach Marketing for Larger Operators went to Stagecoach for their work on digital integration on the fast-growing Megabus UK network.
Several people were also honoured for their hard work in supporting the industry. UKCA Chairman Allan Edmondson said, “We aim to recognise the hard work, dedication and professionalism of a whole range of people and organisations involved in coaching around the country."
The professionals recognised with awards on the night were Golam Rabbani from National Express, who won the Unsung Heroes Award, Matthew Herbert from Shearings received the Gold Award for Support Staff and Denise Fry from Woods Travel received the Gold Award for Customer Service. Richard Ball from National Express was named Engineer of the Year after 33 years in the industry. In his current job, he has been responsible for major developments and innovation in coach design and operation. Selwyn Jones, managing director of Selwyns Travel was given the prestigious Award for Services to the Coach Industry. He has worked in the industry all his life, and built Selwyns Travel into a major force in coaching.
A second Gold Award for Technology and Innovation was made to Stagecoach for the work in the development of the MegabusGold concept of Anglo-Scottish sleeper coaches.
"The judges were really impressed,” said Allan. “There's some really clever thinking and innovation going on all over the country – delivering what matters: better products and better trips for our customers. Whether it's using the internet and other new media or just thinking things through, people really are working very hard, and thoroughly deserve the recognition that the UK Coach Awards delivered on Thursday night.”
The UK Coach Awards 2014 were compered by BBC Breakfast's Carol Kirkwood and the awards themselves were presented by Chris Owens, President of the Confederation of Passenger Transport. The event was attended by over 200 key players in coach operations around the country.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- The UK Coach Awards 2014 will present awards in 17 categories, aiming to discover the best coach companies, coach drivers and other staff – as well as the best marketing schemes, travel programmes and innovations.
- Full results of the 2014 competition can be viewed on this web site by CLICKING HERE
- The UK Coach Awards scheme is operated and run by a special purpose, not-for-dividend company owned by Transport Events Group, organisers of the highly successful UK Bus Awards. More information HERE.
- A full range of images of the event on 10 April is now available, and high resolution images can be downloaded free of charge. CLICK HERE to view.