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Lytx - Award 2019
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November 07 2018
By Tim Deakin

Tim is Editor of routeone and has worked in both the coach and bus and haulage industries.

routeone Awards celebrate operators' excellence

Last week routeone once again welcomed a full house of coach and bus industry leaders to the 14th routeone Awards, which as ever celebrated excellent operation and exemplary industry professionals

The 14th routeone Awards recognised excellent operators and people

This year’s routeone Awards once again lived up to its reputation as the coach and bus industry’s event of unrivalled status.

The black-tie celebration - held in the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel’s Monach Suite on Wednesday 31 October - was geared to ensuring that everyone had an enjoyable evening.

Celebrity entertainer Alistair McGowan was the presenter alongside routeone Editor Tim Deakin, and the renowned comedian and actor also provided the evening’s cabaret.

The winners

It is the winners of the 16 award categories who are the true stars, having been recognised and rewarded for being the industry’s best.

Go South Coast followed 2017’s success by again being named Large Bus Operator of the Year, and the outstanding level of excellence achieved by the Go-Ahead company was further reflected in it winning the Environment Award.

Other bus operator successes include awards for The Harrogate Bus Company as Small/Medium Bus Operator of the Year, and National Express, which for its use of Lytx DriveCam technology earned it the Best Use of Technology (over 150 vehicles) accolade.

Lucketts Travel claimed the Large Coach Operator of the Year award, having earned well-deserved recognition for how it has maintained high standards while successfully pursuing expansion through acquisition.

Other coach success stories include Anthony’s Travel. It won the Operator Training Award thanks to its enthusiasm for making sure that it takes care of its staff.

Meanwhile, Grey’s of Ely came under the spotlight for the way it has integrated the use of technology into its culture. It not only won the Best Use of Technology (up to 150 vehicles), but also took home the trophy for Small Coach Operator of the Year.

The routeone Awards co-host was celebrity comedian Alistair McGowan

Medium Coach Operator of the Year is Maynes Coaches of Buckie for its remarkably consistent approach to delivering excellence.

Whites St Albans saw repeat success in the Excellence in Minibus Operation category. To win once is an achievement, but to do so twice takes something special. In Whites’ case, that is a record of growth, profitability and investment - all in the pursuit of excellence.

The industry’s outstanding people are also recognised at the routeone Awards. Ian Fraser, MD of The Kings Ferry, won the award for Manager of the Year, small/medium operator, for his exceptional success in not only developing the business but in building a team that is both enthused and supportive.

A further top manager award went to Alex Hornby, CEO of Transdev Blazefield. Top engineers are Chris Pannell of Blackpool Transport Services and Richard Shillingford of RATP Dev London.

Although one winner per award has been the rule in previous years, there was an exception in 2018. The judges felt that the standard of the Rising Star finalists was so high that they selected two names: Sean Ewan of Mullanys Coaches and Andy Turnbull of The Harrogate Bus Company.

Sandra Whitelaw, MD of Whitelaw’s Coaches, won the Special Award for her services to the industry, particularly in Scotland where she has unflinchingly represented it at the highest level.

As with the other 15 categories, the announcement of the Special Award was by a representative of the award partner, who presented a trophy before posing for photographs with our celebrity presenter.

Charity benefits

In keeping with established tradition at the routeone Awards, money was again raised for charity. Prize draw envelopes were on every table and over £5,800 was raised for the nominated benefactor, The Association of Air Ambulances.

After the meal was cleared, the draw for a Red Letter Day was made by Confederation of Passenger Transport President Martin Dean. Chris Burke of ZF Service was the lucky recipient.

For the industry, by the industry

Then, as now, the true value of winning is set by the guiding principle established at the first routeone Awards in 2005: All entrants are nominated by others within the industry, and the event is a celebration that is shared by all.

As a result, it’s no surprise that demand for seats in 2018 threatened to outstrip supply as far back as August.

Nevertheless, the event stays at the Monarch Suite - the largest function room at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole - in 2019. The gala presentation evening will take place on 2 October. Tickets will go on sale in late spring/early summer 2019. The advice, as always, it to book early to avoid disappointment.

Operator Training Award: Anthony’s Travel
Manager of the Year, small/medium operator (up to 150 vehicles): Ian Fraser, The Kings Ferry
Manager of the Year, large operator (over 150 vehicles): Alex Hornby, Transdev Blazefield
Engineer of the Year, small/medium operator (up to 150 vehicles): Chris Pannell, Blackpool Transport Services
Engineer of the Year, large operator (over 150 vehicles): Richard Shillingford, RATP Dev London
Rising Star winners: Andy Turnbull, The Harrogate Bus Company and Sean Ewan, Mullanys Coaches
Best Use of Technology (up to 150 vehicles): Grey’s of Ely
Best Use of Technology (over 150 vehicles): National Express
Environment Award: Go South Coast
Excellence in Minibus Operation: Whites St Albans
Small Coach Operator of the Year (up to 15 vehicles): Grey’s of Ely
Medium Coach Operator of the Year (16-50 vehicles): Maynes Coaches, Buckie
Small/Medium Bus Operator of the Year (up to 150 vehicles): The Harrogate Bus Company
Large Coach Operator of the Year (over 50 vehicles): Lucketts Travel
Large Bus Operator of the Year (over 150 vehicles): Go South Coast
Special Award: Sandra Whitelaw - Managing Director, Whitelaw’s Coaches

routeone comment

routeone extends its thanks to all of our sponsors for making the evening possible.

Headline Partner: Goodyear

Award Partners: Alfatronix, Allison Transmission, Arriva Bus and Coach, Coach & Bus UK, Coventry College, Knorr-Bremse, Lytx Europe, MAN, Mercedes-Benz Buses and Coaches, Optare, Optibus, Pelican Yutong, Ticketer and Volvo Bus.

Event Partners: BYD, Irizar UK, John Hill Coach Sales and Services, MiX Telematics, Paul Clark Services, Siemens Financial Services and uTrack Software.

Event Supporters: Dawsongroup Bus and Coach, Growth Partners, Personal Group, r2p UK, Total UK, TruTac, Voith Turbo and Zeelo.

And let us not forget the judging panel. Steve Dewhurst, Chris Heaps, Tony Kennan, Peter Nash and Kevin Wood ensured that the process of selecting the winners was rigorous, fair and credible.

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