Innovation Award

Innovation is the lifeblood of any business, and the coach industry is no exception - adapting to ever changing technologies and ever-evolving customer expectations require us to reinvent and develop our products constantly. This award is designed to recognise and reward original thinking and successful implementation of ideas.

A successful nomination for this Award needs to demonstrate development of an original or novel idea that achieves one or more of the following:

  • improves the image of the coach
  • stimulates interest in, or desire for, coaching products
  • improves the efficiency of the industry

This Award will be made for an innovation which, in the opinion of the judges, most contributes to the improvement of coach travel. Evidence of quantification of the benefits achieved is essential.

Results 2018

The smartphone screen from the online portalWinner, Gold Award: Distinctive Systems

Distinctive System Coach Manager Online Portal

Distinctive Systems Coach Manager is a start to finish solution for the management of private hire and contract work, specially designed for coach, minibus, chauffeur and community transport operators. It is in daily use by over 650 operators across the UK. The Online Portal makes it easy for a coach operator's customers to request and accept quotations, list and check their bookings, view a statement of account and make secure online payments via a desktop and mobile friendly browser. It also allows drivers to securely log in to a separate area where they can view an online diary showing their planned work and print work tickets directly from the website.

The judges commented that focussing on the needs of customers, drivers and the company, creates a harmonious triangle. The system allows 24/7 access for customers and staff bringing coach hire operation into the 21st century.

Launching Citylink's contactless payment systemWinner, Silver Award: Scottish Citylink Coaches

Contactless Payments

Scottish Citylink passengers travelling across Scotland can now use contactless payments after the company became the first national coach network to have the technology installed across the entire fleet. Passengers can pay using a contactless credit or debit card, as well as through Apple Pay and Android Pay. Since its introduction in November, around 20% of on-coach cash revenue has been converted into contactless transactions within the first three months. It has been particularly well received on commuter services in the Central Belt - 900 (Glasgow to Edinburgh) and Air (Glasgow to Edinburgh Airport) which are showing a growing trend of contactless on-coach transactions, currently repesenting 22% of on-coach revenue.

Although very common on buses and in retail, the judges were pleased to see this expansion of contactless payments in an early application for the coach industry, and the first to be offered across an entire network. The rapid take up has proven that it's popular with customers.

The high quality seating areaWinner, Bronze Award: Leger Holidays

Luxuria

Having successful developed a high-end coach layout, Silver Service, in 2002 with 36 seats in a 12 metre coach, Leger set about developing a new, even more luxurious coach layout with 31 seats over a 14 metre coach. After consultation with passengers on what they want, and consideration of the ease of conversion into a standard double seating format for the vehicles' second life, Luxuria was launched. Armchair two and one seating creates a spacious ambience and individual seat back entertainment systems offer a choice of films, music and games. Each double seat has calf rests and single seats have calf rests or are in table configuration. Individual 240v and USB sockets are available for each seat, which also feature seat back tables and adjustable head and foot rests, alongside mood lighting throughout the vehicle.To complete the experience, passengers have the attentive service of two crew and are served with refreshments utilising the onboard microwave and coffee machine.

Whilst upselling and creating high specification vehicles has been done before, the judges thought that Luxuria is a very interesting development. They were pleased that Leger had worked out what additional charge per passenger per day on an average amount of tour work would be needed to cover all the additional costs over and above the Silver Service specification, a figure of £10.

Who can be nominated?

This category was open to industry suppliers, operators and authorities either separately or in conjunction with one another.

… and by whom?

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

Criteria and Entry Requirements

Entries are judged on the basis of the quality of the submissions which needed to:

  • Provide a full description of the project, describing how it works and how it was introduced
  • Explain how has it made a difference
  • Supply evidence of the overall trend(s) affected by the project, as appropriate, in:
    • patronage/revenue
    • customer satisfaction
    • cost and efficiency levels
  • State whether the results are likely to be sustainable
  • Describe any future plans for further development
  • Include any relevant supporting material
  • Describe how the impact of the project was measured
  • Describe how staff were informed and trained and the impact, if any, that the project has had on their jobs
  • State whether any partners were involved and, if so, describe their roles