Awards judges at last night’s presentation in Birmingham named The Harrogate Bus Company as the UK’s Small and Medium Bus Operator of the Year – the hotly contested prize goes to a company running up to 150 buses.
The winning continued as The Harrogate Bus Company’s Service Delivery Manager Andy Turnbull – who only joined the operator as a graduate trainee in 2016 – was named as joint winner in the Rising Star category which recognises the UK bus and coach industry’s brightest prospects.
And the Harrogate firm’s successful night was completed as its parent company Transdev Blazefield’s CEO Alex Hornby was named Manager of the Year among larger bus operators.
Based at Starbeck, a few miles from the town centre, The Harrogate Bus Company runs 75 buses, employs 204 local people and firm celebrated its 110 year birthday in 2016. As well as a network of town services, it runs the frequent route 1 to Knaresborough and is perhaps best known for the iconic 36 fleet which has set the standard for high quality, desirable bus routes up and down the UK. Continued customer growth on the 36 has seen a 17% increase in customers in 2018, with 65% of users having access to a car but choose to use the bus.
Further pioneering innovation saw the company successfully bid and win several rounds of Department of Transport funding to help create the UK’s first low emission bus town with nearly 20 buses now fitted with SCRT equipment which reduces NOx emissions by 96% alongside a fleet of 10 zero-emission 100% electric buses used in the town and through Nidderdale.
CEO Alex Hornby said: “These awards are the perfect way to cap off an outstanding year of progress here by our amazing team here in Harrogate.
“Alongside our class-leading luxury bus product in the 36, we’ve made great strides towards creating the UK’s first low emission bus town with our Harrogate Electrics receiving widespread acclaim from the people who matter most of all – our customers. That pioneering approach has clearly caught the judges’ attention and I’m delighted that, in spite of fierce competition in this category, we are the UK’s Bus Operator of the Year.
“Our own Andy Turnbull – a great young leader of the future in the UK’s bus industry – is someone we’ve been proud to develop and invest in, and to see him named as joint winner of the Rising Star Award is a reflection of his talent and his commitment to deliver the best service we can.
“Most people who know me personally know how much I love what I do and I am extremely proud of how we run our business, and so being named Manager of the Year simply for doing something I enjoy so much really means a lot. But our success is really all about being part of a winning team of great people, and delivering the best experience we can for our customers every day is and always will be our number one passion.”
A total of 80 bus and coach operators across the UK were shortlisted for this year’s Route One Awards. The winners are recognised as the industry’s finest, providing exemplary customer service and setting the highest standards for others to aspire to.
The awards were presented at a spectacular gala evening held on Wednesday 31 October 2018 at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole. Awards sponsors include many of the industry’s biggest and best-known suppliers, including Yorkshire-based bus builder Optare and tyre manufacturer Goodyear.