routeone Awards shortlist: The round of 80


The end result of the third phase in the process of finding the winners in this year’s routeone Awards is the announcement of the shortlists. Chairman of the judges Mike Morgan reveals the names.

The road to success in this year’s routeone Awards starts with nomination and progresses through entry before reaching last week’s all-important shortlisting phase when our panel of industry experts completed the difficult task of determining a list of potential winners in each of the 16 categories.

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The judges examined over 400 entries

At a two-day meeting held at the Peterborough offices of routeone parent Diversified Communications, the judges carefully assessed 400-plus entry forms and supporting evidence .

Shortlisting is a critical point in the supremely important process of finding the winners. Out of necessity it is demanding, ensuring that entry information is comprehensive, the judging meticulous, and the results credible.

The judging procedure started earlier in the year when manufacturers, dealers and suppliers were invited to name who they regard as potential winners. This ensured a broad base of nominations from which to identify the finalists. That part of the process was completed by the end of April.

To help the judges an entry form was then sent to all who were nominated and these entries were then used to establish the shortlists in seven operator of the year’ categories – Operator Training Award, Excellence in Minibus Operations, Small Coach Operator, Medium Coach Operator, Large Coach Operator, Small/Medium Bus Operator, and Large Bus Operator.

However, from day one there has been an over-riding caveat that the judges would reserve judgement in some categories until after more information is obtained. This explains why the shortlisting in the five ‘people’ categories – Manager (small and medium fleet), Manager (large fleet), Engineer (small and medium fleet), Engineer (large fleet), and Rising Star – has been deferred until after interviews to be held next month.

In the case of the Special Award, there is no shortlist; only a winner who is yet to be confirmed.

The Shortlists

The following are confirmed as finalists:

Operator Training Award

Anthonys Travel

Go North East

Go South Coast

Lucketts Travel

National Express West Midlands

Reading Buses

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

To be confirmed

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

To be confirmed

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

To be confirmed

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

To be confirmed

Rising Star

To be confirmed

Best Use of Technology (up to 150 vehicles)

Blackpool Transport Services

Grey’s of Ely


United Minibuses and Coaches

Best Use of Technology (over 150 vehicles)

First Bus

Go Ahead Oxford

Lucketts Travel

National Express

Reading Buses

Environment Award

The Big Lemon CIC

First Bus Aberdeen

Go South Coast

Reading Buses

Excellence in Minibus Operation

Alba Travel

Passenger Plus

United Minibuses and Coaches

White’s of St Albans

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

Anthonys Travel

Bayliss Executive Travel

Eastons Holidays

Grey’s of Ely

Heathside Travel

Henshaw’s Executive Travel

Masons Mini Bus & Coach Hire

Small/Medium Bus Operator of the Year (1-150 vehicles)

Blackpool Transport Services

The Burnley Bus Company

Ensignbus Co

The Harrogate Bus Company

Uno Buses (Northamption)

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

Acklams Coaches

Barnes Coaches

Country Lion (Northampton)

Golden Boy Coaches

Maynes Coaches, Buckie

Prospect Coaches (West)

Stanley Travel (North East)

Williams Coaches, Brecon

Large Coach Operator of the Year (over 50 vehicles)

Edwards Coaches

The Kings Ferry

Horseman Coaches

Lucketts Travel

Shearings Holidays

York Pullman Bus Company

Large Bus Operator of the Year (over 150 vehicles)

First Scotland East

Go South Coast

Go North East

National Express West Midlands

Reading Buses

Stagecoach East Scotland

Special Award

To be confirmed

Special Award — (to be confirmed)

With an average of five finalists in each of the 16 categories this means that out of the 400-plus entries there are now 80 who go through to the next and final round.


The fact that the routeone Awards goes from strength to strength in its 14th year and is acclaimed as the most prestigious event in the coach and bus industry calendar is in no small way down to the integrity of the five-man judging panel chaired by former routeone Editor Mike Morgan. The panel includes Steve Dewhurst, Chris Heaps, Tony Kennan, Peter Nash, and Kevin Wood.

Mike Morgan steered routeone from its launch in 2003 to its market-leading position when he stepped down as Editor in 2014.

Steve Dewhurst was Managing Director of Volvo Bus for seven years until he retired in 2013. This is his fourth year as a judge.

Chris Heaps is a long-standing routeone Awards judge. From 1997 to 2000 he was the Traffic Commissioner for the Western Traffic Area, moving to the South Eastern & Metropolitan Traffic Area between 2000 and 2007.

Tony Kennan continues as a judge for a seventh year. He was one of the founding directors of Northumbria Bus & Coach in 1987 and subsequently Kentish Bus. He became owner of Moordale Coaches in the 1990s.

Peter Nash is also now in his seventh year as a judge. Formerly Commercial Director of Busways Travel Services Ltd, sold to Stagecoach in 1994, in 1999 he became Head of Commercial Policy for Stagecoach UK Bus.

Kevin Wood spent his working life in coach sales, spending the last 29 years with Plaxton at Scarborough. He was a member of the management buyout team that saved Plaxton in the wake of parent company Mayflower going into administration in 2004. Plaxton was subsequently sold to Alexander Dennis (ADL) and Kevin became Sales Director until taking partial retirement in 2015. This is his third year as a routeone Awards judge.

The results

This announcement of the shortlists is the latest step along the road to our celebration of excellence when the winners are revealed at our eagerly awaited gala presentation evening on 31 October at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole. The event is timed to coincide with this year’s coach and bus industry trade show, Euro Bus Live, and, maintaining the high standard of previous routeone Awards evenings, it will be hosted by a high-profile media personality while after-dinner entertainment will be provided by and an internationally-famous comedian.

The next stage is for the judges to invite all those nominated in the ‘people’ categories to an interview. They have also written to all other finalists and asked specific questions designed to elicit answers that will enable a clear distinction to be made as to who is the best – i.e. help them determine the winners.

routeone Comment

Now in its 14th year and acclaimed as the most prestigious event in the coach and bus industry calendar, the routeone Awards goes from strength to strength. 

It is no surprise, therefore, that ticket sales look set to outstrip supply with more than 50% of available seats already sold. The advice as always is to book early by visiting the routeone awards website ( alt=”” src=”” />