Britain's biggest coach operators gathered in Coventry yesterday (28 March) for the National Express Operator Awards.
The event, held at the Windmill Village Hotel, recognised the best performing National Express coach operators in 2011 across a wide range of business categories including 'Driver of the Year' and 'Operator of the Year'.
Over 100 of the most influential people in the UK coach industry attended the event which saw Gloucester based Bennetts Coaches walk away with the prestigious 'Operator of the Year 2011' award. The company operates 4 National Express livered coaches on routes from Gloucester to Heathrow and Gatwick Airports and has been a contracted operator since November 2010.
Mike De Courcey Travel collected the Award for 'Best Newcomer' after successfully taking on a range of routes from Veolia in May 2011 including the prestigious route between Birmingham and London. Huddersfield based E Stott & Sons collected two awards including 'Best Fleet' with the family run business faultlessly passing 29 rigorous vehicle audits during 2011. Paul Major was chosen as 'Manager of the Year 2011' to recognise his outstanding efforts in helping sustain Yourbus Nottingham as gold operator on the National Express Operator Evaluation Tables.
Andrew Cleaves, Managing Director of National Express, said: "The Operator Awards is our opportunity to acknowledge and thank the people who deliver excellent service to our customers everyday. We're proud to work alongside the best of the British coaching industry and have collectively operated over 75 million miles during 2011 - it's a great achievement that we want to build on during 2012."
"We're delighted to announce Bennetts Coaches as our 'Operator of the Year'. Throughout 2011 they continually demonstrated exemplary customer service combined with operational excellence.
Driver of the Year was awarded to Michael Penny from South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach who received an extremely high number of customer commendations during 2011 and is also a 'green' rated driver on our vehicle telematics system which promotes smooth and safe driving. Michael drives the busy Bristol to London and Bristol to Gatwick services and is an extremely well known and popular member of the National Express team.
The awards also saw £1000 raised for Transaid in honour of Peter Huntley, formerly MD of Go North East.
Full list of winners:
Best Fleet 2011: E Stott & Sons
Manager of the Year 2011: Paul Major, Yourbus Nottingham
Driver of the Year 2011: Michael Penny, South Gloucestershire Bus & Coach
Most Improved Operator 2011: Wilts & Dorset
Best Newcomer 2011: Mike De Courcey Travel
Sustained Higher Achievers 2011: Go North East, Lucketts Travel, Parks of Hamilton (Scotland), Parks of Hamilton (Plymouth)
Operator of the Year 1-5 Vehicles: E Stott & Sons
Operator of the Year 6-10 Vehicles: Parks of Hamilton (Scotland)
Operator of the Year 11-15 Vehicles: Edwards Coaches
Operator of the Year 16+ Vehicles: Yourbus Nottingham
Operator of the Year 2011: Bennetts Coaches