routeONE Awards 2014: Everyone a winner

On Bonfire Night routeone welcomed 790 industry professionals to the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel for the 10th annual routeone Awards. Chairman Mike Morgan reports on another memorable evening when excellence throughout the industry was recognised.

Having returned to a larger venue in response to the demand for places at this high-profile event, the 10th annual routeone Awards saw another sell-out attendance of 790 industry professionals at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel. It’s an event of unrivalled status, held for the industry and recognising the highest level of excellence within the industry.

The black-tie event – held in the hotel’s Monarch Suite last Wednesday (5 November) – was geared to ensure that everyone had an enjoyable evening, with celebrity TV personality Steph McGovern as the presenter and comedian Tim Vine providing the entertainment.

However, it was the winners of the 16 award categories that rightly stepped into the limelight at this gala presentation evening, because the main purpose for being there was to recognise and applaud excellence among coach, bus and minibus operators.

The winners

It is the firm policy of the routeone Awards that the names of the winners remained a closely guarded secret, and those present in the Monarch Suite were the first to learn who had been judged the best in the industry.

The results were announced by the individual event partners of each award and the winners were invited on to the stage to be presented with their trophy and certificate.

Photographs of all the winners appear in the winners brochure, published with this issue of routeone. They are:

  • Operator Training Award:London Borough of Redbridge – safe urban driving course
  • Manager of the Year, small and medium operator (up to 150 vehicles):Helen Jeacock, Head of Operations, Stewarts Coaches
  • Manager of the Year, large operator (over 150 vehicles):Marc Reddy, Managing Director, First Hampshire
  • Engineer of the Year, small/medium operator (up to 150 vehicles):Chris Adams, Engineering Director, Pulhams Coaches
  • Engineer of the Year, large operators (over 150 vehicles):David Heptinstall, Engineering Director, Stagecoach Midlands
  • Partnership of the Year:The Kings Ferry, NorthSomerset County Council and Volvo – Bristol commutercoach
  • Innovation of the Year:Arriva North East and Arriva Yorkshire – Arri-va-va-voom!
  • Environment Award:Eclipse Priority Bus Network
  • Excellence in Minibus Operation:Passenger Plus, Ashford
  • Small Coach Operator of the Year (1-15 vehicles):Anthony’s Travel, Runcorn
  • Medium Coach Operator of the Year (16-50 vehicles):Maynes Coaches, Buckie
  • Large Coach Operator of the Year (over 50 vehicles):The Kings Ferry,Gillingham
  • Small Bus Operator of the Year (1-50 vehicles):Safeguard Coaches, Guildford
  • Medium Bus Operator of the Year (51-150 vehicles):Morebus, Poole
  • Large Bus Operator of the Year (over 150 vehicles):Stagecoach inNorthamptonshire
  • Special Award:Joe Mackie, Director,First Aberdeen

The Awards were presented at a gala dinner that was a true celebration, where all of the finalists were congratulated.

Although the winners received a trophy and certificate on the evening, the next day they also received a winner’s pack geared to encouraging them to promote their success.

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

However, there can only be one winner in each category and they have earned the accolade of being the best in the business.

Charity

In keeping with the established tradition at the routeone Awards, money was raised for charity.

There were prize draw envelopes on the tables and 7,200 (including one anonymous donation of 1,000) was raised for the nominated charity, Zoe’s Place.

As the only baby-specific hospice in the UK, Zoe’s Place offers palliative, respite and end of life care completely free of charge, and ongoing support to families. It has three hospices – Liverpool, Coventry and Middlesbrough – all of which are run as self-contained entities, under the overall charity’s guidance.

After the main meal was cleared, the draw for a Red Letter Day prize was made by CPT President Chris Owens.

For the industry

The first routeone Awards was held in 2005, so this year’s event represents another landmark in the history of routeone as the 10th, following the celebration of the 500th issue of the magazine and its 10th anniversary in 2013.

Having debuted at the coach and bus industry show in 2003, the early success of the magazine encouraged the launch of the first routeone Awards two years later.

Then, as now, the guiding principle is that the Awards are for the industry, by the industry.

And, as always, excellence is the byword and the aim is to identify and reward the best operators and people in the coach, bus and minibus sectors.

Yet again demand for seats at the routeone Awards far exceeded supply, ensuring that it was a sell-out event as far back as August.

Nevertheless the event stays at the Monarch Suite – the largest of the function rooms at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole – in 2015, when the gala presentation evening will take place on 30 September.

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