This Award is designed to recognise and reward high standards of operation and customer care by bus depots and garages throughout the UK.
The Award is open to bus depots or garages that operate buses on local bus services outside London. For the purposes of this award, a bus garage is defined as an authorised operating base at which vehicles are both stabled overnight and maintained.
Winner, Gold Award
St Andrews - Stagecoach East Scotland
St Andrews depot, operated in the busy university town by Stagecoach East Scotland, runs with a fleet of 25 vehicles and operates local town services as well as routes across Fife and into Dundee. With good reliability statistics the depot's efficient operations are a testament to the professionalism of the staff and high levels of morale at the site. Various social and sporting activities take place including the popular football tournaments and outings to some of the region many golf courses in association with other depots across Stagecoach East Scotland. It is often said that the St Andrews depot is a large family and the spirit and enjoyment they portray in their work demonstrates how much they enjoy their job.
The judges were pleased to note that the depot has a particularly strong social programme which no doubt helps create an excellent team spirit. With the many large events being held in the town, the depot has to cope with a big variety of transport provision on top of its regular services.
Winner, Silver Award
Fenstanton - Stagecoach East
Stagecoach East's Fenstanton depot houses 50 vehicles, many of which operate on the Cambridge Guided Busway for part of their route. Around three quarters of the fleet are modern Euro 5 and 6 buses with leather seats, USB and power sockets and free wifi. The depot is focussed on recycling as much as possible and helps promote green thinking within the local community throughout the year. One of Fenstanton's greatest attributes is its team spirit. Having been under the same management for the past 40 years there is a strong sense of commitment and respect among drivers, engineers, managers and all staff. The proportion of drivers who transfer in is far greater than the average depot. Although the majority of drivers are recruited as current licence holders Fenstanton still pride itself on its high level of driver training and its 100% new driver PCV pass rate. All new drivers are allocated specific driving mentors, selected for their driving standards and ability to teach others. Drivers who drive on the Guided Busway are given an additional two weeks training to ensure they can handle the variation in driving technique and increased customer service which is expected. This mentor system immediately instils a sense of support which can be felt within the depot. There is an active social scene, part of which includes a Golf Society which arranges annual trips away.
The judges noted the low lost mileage figure, despite difficult traffic conditions in Cambridge. There is good infrastructure int he area, including the guided busway, which the judges noted is being utilised for short trips to improve journey times and reliability. Schemes such as reducing the cost of the day ticket by the same amount as the local authority increased the parking charge, was seen to be of great benefit to customers.
Winner, Bronze Award
Crawley - Metrobus
Metrobus started operating from its Crawley Depot in 2001 when the existing operator declared that operations in the town unviable. The last 15 years have seen unprecedented growth, investment in fleet, depot infrastructure and new technology. The depot has an enviable reputation for quality, investment and customer service and now houses a fleet of 145 vehicles. Currently 20 are fitted with audio next stop announcements and the aim is to have the entire fleet fitted by the end of the year.
The judges thought this was a very good operation in an area that is difficult for recruiting staff. The flexible working arrangements for staff with a young family were also noted.
Tamworth - Arriva Midlands & Shires
Housing around 40 vehicles, Arriva says that the success of its Tamworth depot is solely on the exceptional and dedicated performance of its people. From cleaners, through to drivers, engineers to senior management, the workforce engaged and committed to delivering one key goal - to provide the people of Tamworth with exemplary customer service. The culture is such that each and every member of the team is made to feel valued and listened to, which is in turn then reflected in the way the customers are treated. It is a structure which has paid dividends, with customer satisfaction currently the highest from across all of Arriva's depots nationally, and sickness and staff turnover dropping significantly over the last 12 months.
The judges were pleased to see significant improvement in most metrics including lost mileage, staff sickness and staff turnover. Complaints per kilometre were also down.
Gateshead Riverside - Go North East
Gateshead Riverside is Go North East's flagship facility which opened in January 2014 as part of the company's centenary celebrations. The ú8.5m, 3,500sq m facility was built on the 5.75 acre site of the former Dunston Power Station. It houses 170 vehicles and over 500 employees and is the only public transport depot in the north east to have such technically advanced equipment which has enhanced health and safety and boosted efficiency. It is also home to the company's occupational health, recruitment and training facilities as well as its new service delivery centre. Along with the company's customer service team, the service delivery centre monitors a range of communication channels and all of its services in real time providing a very high level of support for the company's customers and staff.
The judges were impressed with the new depot housing operations alongside customer service and training. It was noted that keeping personal relationships in such a large facility must be difficult.
Wolverhampton, Park Lane - National Express West Midlands
Wolverhampton is National Express West Midlands' second largest garage housing 200 vehicles which serve the city of Wolverhampton and its surrounding area as far as Birmingham and Stafford. In 2015, it won the company's Depot of the Year and it has a reputation for excellent employee morale and a good team spirit. In the last two years there has been a focus on improving the relationship between the operational and engineering teams to work together. This has resulted in reduced lost mileage and fewer complaints, despite the increase in mileage and staff numbers from 2014 to 2015.
The judges noted that all metrics are moving in the right direction and clearly the garage is improving. It is also good to see recent investment in new vehicles.
Who could be nominated?
In order to qualify to enter this award, a bus depot or garage must have an allocation of not less than 10 vehicles and operate not less than 500,000 kilometres per year on registered local bus services.
… and by whom?
We welcomed nominations from all three categories from customers, authorities, user groups or bus operators. Self-nomination was acceptable.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
The award will be made to the garage which, in the opinion of the judges, delivers the highest operational standards to its customers. ntries must contain a full set of data against the following Key Performance Indicators:
- Scheduled Annual Mileage
- Lost Mileage, absolute and as a percentage of scheduled
- Punctuality statistics (Number of departures operated, proportion measured and the percentage measured as “on time”, i.e. not more than one minute early and five minutes late)
- Staff turnover (all grades, including engineering staff)
- Annual PSV Test pass rate
- Details of any warning or prohibition notices issued by VOSA in the previous twelve months
- Customer Satisfaction and Mystery Traveller Survey results (if undertaken)
- Driver Quality Monitoring Data (where undertaken)
- Statistics regarding the volume and nature of public complaints
In addition, each entry needs to contain a submission concerning the depot/garage’s own work to:
- maintain and improve operational standards
- make contributions to local and global environmental objectives
- develop and maintain a team spirit within the garage (e.g. sports and social clubs, etc)
- play a positive role within the communities served (charity work, community involvement, sponsorship programmes, etc).
Finally, submissions should state whether or not there has been any Traffic Commissioner action in the three years prior to entry relating to the depot's operations, or whether any investigation, disciplinary hearing or known VOSA report is ongoing at the time of entry. If so, provide a full account of the matter(s).
Entries should address each of the above criteria to assist with the judging process, because non-transferable marks will be allocated for each of these criteria.
Short-listed garages will be subject to Mystery Travelling and other spot checks during the judging process. Judges reserve the right to request additional data, for audit purposes. Any such data will be subject to the strictest confidentiality arrangements.
Note that it is a condition of entry that any prize awarded should be collected by at least one member of front-line staff at the UKBA Presentation Ceremony. The winning garage will receive a cash prize which must be used to improve staff facilities at the garage.