Top UK Express Coach Driver 

This award is presented to the coach driver who works wholly or mainly on scheduled express service duties who has best demonstrated excellent performance from the customer perspective in the 12 month period to the end of September 2016.

To win the title of Top UK Express Coach Driver, entrants need to go that bit further 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 industry.

Oxford Tube driver Gavin Francis.Winner, Gold Award

Gavin Francis - Oxford Tube

Gavin Francis works for Stagecoach in Oxfordshire on its popular Oxford Tube express service. His personal interest in public transport and passion for the industry is reflected in his ability to mentor others and assist in the training of new drivers. Gavin is very thorough, often a perfectionist, and so suits the role of a mentor, passing these skills onto new recruits. When the company bought new coaches, Gavin was one of two drivers who trained the entire Oxford Tube team in how to operate the new fleet. In his spare time, Gavin is a keen photographer, with many of his pictures of coaches and buses being used in industry magazines.

Our mystery traveller commented that Gavin was very friendly and engaging, and was particularly patient and reassuring to a nervous passenger that wanted to be sure that he hadn't missed his stop.


Following consideration of the nominations, and mystery travelling checks, the judges decided that it was impossible to distinguish between the others, so there is no Silver or Bronze award this year. All three other finalists received a certificate to attest to their success.

They were:

  • Peter Jones - Oxford Tube
  • Nicholas Mather - National Express
  • Richard Pimm - Oxford Tube

Who could be nominated?

Any licensed PCV driver in full-time employment, who was in continuous employment  for the 12 months ended 30 September 2016 who worked wholly or mainly on scheduled express coach services.

…and by whom?

Nominations were sought from employers or from customers for the express drivers they consider worthy of this award.

Where staff were nominated by customers, UKCA organisers sought further information and endorsement 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 were assessed on their technical and professional skill. Evidence of this was required and included:

  • Technical and professional skills as evidenced by: 
    • The nominee’s accident record
    • Number and duration of safe driving awards won by the nominee
    • Internal driver assessment reports including fuel monitoring systems when employed by the company
    • Marks achieved in a company, regional or national competition held at coach rallies or other events.
  • Disciplinary and attendance record
  • Timekeeping and reliability
  • Ticketing and cash handling
  • Customer care skills

In addition to the skills section, finalists for the Top UK Express Driver award was assessed on: 

  • Public Commendations
  • Disciplinary record
  • Mystery Traveller Reports

The winner of the Top UK Express Coach Driver prize is, in the view of the judges, the individual who best represents the whole range of professional and customer care skills required for the demanding job of providing reliable and attractive scheduled express coach services.

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