The best of the best

Last Wednesday routeone welcomed over 800 industry professionals to the 12th annual routeone Awards. Chairman Mike Morgan reports on another memorable evening which rewarded excellence

The annual routeone Awards again lived up to its billing as the coach and bus industry’s most eagerly-awaited event of the year when a record attendance ensured a capacity audience greeted the announcements of who has been judged to be the best of the best.

The black-tie event – held in the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel’s Monarch Suite last Wednesday (2 November) – was geared to ensure that everyone had an enjoyable evening, with celebrity TV personality Steph McGovern making a popular return for a third time as presenter alongside routeone Editor Mel Holley. Comedian Marcus Brigstocke hit the spot when he provided the post-presentation entertainment.

However, it was the winners of the 16 award categories who were the true stars, having been recognized and rewarded for being the industry’s best. This year there are 11 new names to be added to the distinguished list of winners of these prestigious awards.

As the winners stepped forward, it was a celebration of excellence among coach, bus and minibus operators, while the veil of secrecy draped over each Winner resulted in an emotional response as each award was announced.

Given that nobody in the room knows the winners’ names in advance it is perhaps surprising that rarely in the event’s 12-year history has there been a winner who has not been able to be present on the evening. However, it happened this year, not only once, but twice.

Small Coach Operator of the Year was won by Austin Travel trading as Scotline Tours and AT Travel, yet the Edinburgh-based company could not be represented. The same with the announcement of well-known and long-established Cambridgeshire coach operator Cyril Kenzie as winner of the Special Award.

In both cases a special post-event presentation is planned.

As with the other 14 categories, the Small Coach Operator of the Year and Special Award winners were announced by the individual event partner, though those present on the night were presented with a trophy and certificate before they posed for photographs.

Details of all the winners and lists of the shortlisted finalists can be found in the Winners’ Brochure, which was distributed to the guests on the night and is online here.

Operator Training Award

National Express West Midlands


Manager of the Year – small/medium operator (up to 150 vehicles)

Kevin Mayne – Maynes Coaches, Buckie                        

Manager of the Year – large operator (over 150 vehicles)

Martijn Gilbert – Reading Buses                                     

Engineer of the Year – small/medium operator (up to 150 vehicles)

Cedric Dalton – Arriva Midlands, Tamworth                  


Engineer of the Year – large operator (over 150 vehicles)

John Bickerton, Reading Buses    

Partnership of the Year

South East Dorset Voluntary Quality Bus Partnership

Innovation of the Year

Epsom Coaches Group – digital walk-round checks

Environment Award

Arriva North West


Excellence in Minibus Operation

Passenger Plus, Ashford

Small Coach Operator of the Year (1-15 vehicles)

Austin Travel t/a Capital Scotline/AT Travel, Edinburgh

Small Bus Operator of the Year (1-50 vehicles)

Central Buses, Birmingham

Medium Coach Operator of the Year (16-50 vehicles)

Lakeside Coaches, Ellesmere

Medium Bus Operator of the Year (51-150 vehicles)

Ensignbus, Purfleet

Large Coach Operator of the Year (over 50 vehicles)

Edwards Coaches, Llantwit Fardre

Large Bus Operator of the Year (over 150 vehicles)

Nottingham City Transport

Special Award

Cyril Kenzie – Kenzies Coaches, Shepreth

Although the winners received a trophy and certificate on the evening, the next day they also received a winner’s marketing pack.

Meanwhile all the other finalists will receive a certificate through the post.

Each year the routeone Awards has held a prize draw for a selected charity. This year we are raising money for Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Muscular Dystrophy UK is a charity focusing on muscular dystrophy and related conditions. It seeks to cure or find treatments for muscular dystrophy and other muscle-wasting conditions, and to improve the lives of those 70,000 people affected.

After the main meal was cleared, the draw for a Hilton weekend break was made by Nottingham City Transport Managing Director and committed muscular dystrophy fundraiser Mark Fowles.

Meanwhile a very big thank you goes to all of our Event Partners for their support:

Coach and Bus UK, Distinctive Systems, Evobus, Gas Bus Alliance, Knorr-Bremse, Millbrook, Parkeon, Passenger FTA, Scania, TransAid, Volvo, Webasto, Wrightsure, Yutong, ZF UK plus Altro Transflor, Goodyear, Irizar UK, John Hill Coach Sales, Mercedes-Benz and Siemens.

Also our Supporters: CheckedSafe, Dawsonrentals, FCL, Nimbus Journey Information, Novadata, Optare, Personal Group, Total UK, TruTac and Voith.

Thank you all for making this year’s event possible.

We also thank the judging panel – Steve Dewhurst, Chris Heaps, Tony Kennan, Peter Nash and Kevin Wood – for ensuring that the process of selecting the winners was rigorous and fair.

routeone Comment

As is now the norm, excess demand ensured a sell-out event this year as early as August confirming the routeone Awards’ enduring success. 
Nevertheless, we have rebooked the Monarch Suite – the largest of the function rooms at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole – for next year, when the gala presentation evening will take place on 4 October 2017 – a date for your diary. 

Tickets will go on sale late spring/early summer. Therefore, the advice is again to book early to avoid disappointment.